On Saturday, March 2, 2013 at approximately 8:00 pm, independent artists united for ‘Songs For Sandy Hook: A Benefit Concert’ at The Talking Stick in Venice, California. Artists who appeared included: Marvin Etzioni, The Conlons, David Vito Gregoli, Margie Balter, Brandon Schott, Hunter MacLeod, Celia Chavez, Arrica Rose & The …’s, Rob Mullins, Shannon Hurley, Steve Barton, Stefano Capobianco, Kirsten Proffit, Jaime Wyatt, Manda Mosher, CALICO (the band), and Ted Wulfers.
The charity event, which ran until nearly midnight, was a response to the shooting that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012 and was produced by Annette Conlon of Nette Radio and songwriter/musicians Manda Mosher and Brandon Schott.
Mosher and Schott also co-produced a digital music compilation Songs For Sandy Hook: Volume 1 & 2. The proceeds from 40-track collection of healing songs will benefit crisis intervention programs at Danbury Hospital and to counsel the victims’ families. It includes cuts from artists around the globe including the eighteen artists who performed live at the bohemian-like Venice venue.
Bereft of a sexy sidekick to properly schmooze and announce your crusty chronicler’s presence, it was incredibly easy to blend into the woodwork and take in the overall atmosphere of the event at the intimate indie coffee bar. The audience was an interesting mix of races, ages and backgrounds perhaps not all that unusual for Venice but new to your all-too often reclusive writer.
While regular readers might expect a list of highlights at this point, the truth is there was so much new talent at this event that it would be nigh impossible to place any one performance that much above another. There was something both refreshingly new and wonderfully retro about the evening. The coffeehouse concert, the concern for a common cause, long-haired musicians, acoustic guitars and multi-instrumentalist David Vito Gregoli's live Indian instrumental music often took one back to an earlier decade.
Politics were set aside here in favor of putting the focus on the positive. Musicians performed songs in memory of the victims and the lives lost and reminded the audience of the need to prevent further tragedies. The money raised is earmarked for the Danbury Hospital which played a key role in the aftermath healing by keeping their doors open 24/7.
Despite the occasional technical difficulties with keyboards, feedback and explosive microphones, artists like Margie Balter were real troopers and kept their cool performing tracks both on and off the charity compilation. Schott and Steve Barton’s “Turning Toward the Sun” and Hunter MacLeod’s cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird” would compete with the sounds of the cappuccino machine and Arrica Rose would fly from Frisco to further the cause with performances that were fresh, raw and live.
It was a mini-music marathon featuring a superb sampling of many musicians one may never have heard before but surely should. (Indeed, watch these pages for future features on such acts as CALICO (the band) and Celia Chavez in “Girls Rock”.)
In between acts at this live webcast event, an auction was also held to further raise funds. Auction items included a Daisy Rock Guitar, a K’s Choice music package including VIP tickets to their May 5, 2013 Hotel Café show, a Susan Nicole vegan handbag, Gina Venturini Designs jewelry and more.
The concert concluded with Ted Wulfers performing “Think Of The Good Times” while backed by many of the other artist who had previously performed. It was a musical moment that smacked of something old and something new as the group performance of the new number was vaguely reminiscent of a live, indie “We Are The World”. The audience soon found themselves clapping in unison as the event drew to a close. Overall, the live event was full of unique entertaining performances and all profits went to a good cause.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that's the bottom line.