The Heart of Brooklyn:
A Generous Helping of Benefit Shows
Benefit concerts featuring Brooklyn artists were among 2010’s many musical highlights in our borough. Brooklyn Community Services (BCS) kicked things off in February, with the Dana Fuchs Band and The Revelations featuring Tre’ Williams rocking the Church of St. Ann in Brooklyn Heights. Most recently, another BCS gala and a concert for the Coalition for the Homeless helped to make the holiday season bright for many local residents. The former, held on Dec. 12th at Jalopy, included local favorites Deni Bonet and Johnny Pisano, plus Saturday Night Live Band vocalist Christine Ohlman and singer-harpist Erin Hill. The following evening, The Knitting Factory in Williamsburg hosted The Shalita Christmas Spectacular for the homeless children with a rock-and-soul bill headlined by The Shalitas and featuring Nicole Atkins, Cudzoo, DJ Vinyl Fog, Kendra Morris, and the Nouvellas.
All Through the Year
The months in between were also filled with humanitarian happenings such as:
- Brooklyn Academy of Music’s show for The Red Hot Organization (AIDS awareness), headlined by Ditmas Park-based rockers The National;
- Rock-A-Relief at Jalopy in support of Project Main St. (ALS research), featuring three local folk/country/Americana acts: Jennifer Milich, The Shambels and Jessica Rose & The High-Life;
- Friend-of-Brooklyn Patti Smith and company headlining at Southpaw for the Fourteen Foundation’s mentoring program; and
- The Fund for UNICEF’s George Harrison tribute at The Bell House.
The Fab Fete
The lineup for the Nov. 29th Harrison fete, a they-should-be-stars-studded extravaganza celebrating the 40th anniversary of the late Beatle’s All Things Must Pass, was produced and led by Brooklyn-based band The Universal Thump(pianist/singer/songwriter Greta Gertler and multi-instrumentalist Adam D. Gold). Joining them, along with indy faves Amy Correia, John Wesley Harding, Missy Higgins and Dayna Kurtz, were more than a dozen of the Borough’s best and brightest, including Amy Allison, daughter of jazz legend Mose Allison; Oren Bloedow of Elysian Fields; Lee Feldman, who has drawn comparison to Tom Waits and Randy Newman; Pete Galub, who played in Allison’s and Gertler’s bands before going solo; Byron Isaacs of Ollabelle; Carol Lipnik, Coney Island’s self-proclaimed “Singing Mermaid”; Red Hook’s Courtney Kaiser; drummer/songwriter Chris Moore, who often sits in with Galu
b; the duo of David Nagler & Therese Cox; Williamsburg soul sensation Rozz Nash; and PT Walkley, who opened for Coldplay at Madison Square Garden in 2009.
Right on the Money
Among all of 2010’s worthy benefit concerts, the one that may have struck a chord with most Brooklynites was Eddie Money’s show for the Wounded Warriors Project. The September event was one of the musical highlights of Aviator CenterStage’s inaugural season at Floyd Bennett Field.
Following a rocking set by local favorites the Grayriders, Eddie stepped onto the stage and brought the audience to its feet. Singing in his familiar husky, raspy voice and playing killer saxophone between vocals, the East New York native opened with Two Tickets to Paradise and, as they say, the hits just k
ept on coming. Ably supported by guitarist Tommy Girvin, bassist Lee Beverly and drummer Glenn Symmonds, Eddie played to an enthusiastic crowd of longstanding fans — and many new ones. In a pre-show interview he told Brooklyn Roads that his songs resonate across all generations because, “I write from the heart.”
Eddie’s Aviator show was itself a multigenerational affair, with his five-year-old nephews joining him onstage for Wanna Be a Rock Star and niece Kerry Mahoney handling the Ronnie Spector part on Take Me Home Tonight, capably subbing for Eddie’s daughter (and frequent touring partner) Jesse Money. The emotional highlight of the evening was “a new song I just recorded about our heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he told the crowd. “It’s called, One More Soldier Coming Home.”
Royalties from the song, written by Greg Stryker (“a friend from a military family”), are being donated to the Wounded Warriors Project, dedicated to providing programs to meet the needs of injured armed services members. “The song is about a kid who comes home deceased,” Eddie explained, adding, ”It’s an honor to perform it every night.”
Remembrances of Brooklyn Past
He felt especially privileged to sing it for his hometown fans. “I loved growing up in Brooklyn,” he told us as he waxed nostalgic about “vanilla malteds, silver dollar candies and ring-a-levio,” “dances at St. Michaels on Jerome Street,” “seeing Jackie Robinson and Gil Hodges at Ebbetts Field, where my father was an usher” and attending Franklin K. Lane High School. It was there that Eddie formed his first musical group, a doo-wop quartet, in 1963. He paid tribute to that era during his Aviator show with covers of A Million to One and You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me. Forty-seven years later he’s still busy writing, recording and touring. We look forward to his next Brooklyn homecoming and also to a great 2011 season at Aviator CenterStage.