Last night, hundreds of celebrities came together, as they so frequently do, for a benefit event at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The purpose of the 12/12/12 concert was to raise money for the victims and survivors of Hurricane Sandy as well as provide hope and support for those still struggling. Performers included Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Roger Waters, Adam Sandler with Paul Schaffer, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Alicia Keys, The Who, Kanye West, Billy Joel, Chris Martin of Coldplay, and probably the most talked-about performance of the night, Paul McCartney with the surviving members of Nirvana for their first reunion in twenty years.
According to Billboard, it was a powerful night of poignant entertainment, as many of the performers were from the New York/New Jersey area and chose songs that specifically related to the event. Springsteen did a Medley of “My City In Ruins,” “Working On A Building,” and Tom Waits’ “Jersey Girl.” His songs all hit home as did Adam Sandler’s comical rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” entitled “Sandy Screw Ya.” Click the links below to watch of some of these highlight acts.
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For the first time in 20 years, the two surviving members of the legendary ’90s grunge band Nirvana will reunite for a special charity performance tonight in New York to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy. However, since their iconic frontman Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994, the reunion calls for a replacement. So, who better to join drummer Dave Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic than the great Sir Paul McCartney?
That’s right. If a Nirvana reunion didn’t sound bizarre enough, then allow Macca to be the icing on the awkward cake. According to The Sun, the 70-year-old pop rock legend was asked by Grohl to “jam with some mates,” who, unbeknownst to the Beatle, turned out to be Nirvana with the addition of unofficial fourth member Pat Smear.
Next thing you know, they’re playing a reunion show for a star-studded audience like it’s no big deal. Can you even imagine Macca’s aged British accent uttering the angst-ridden drugged out gravely vocals on “Smells Like Tean Spirit?” Who would have thought that “Rape Me” would be sung by the same guy who performed “Yellow Submarine.” Well, millions of listeners are about to find out tonight. It will certainly be a spectacle, that’s for sure. Let’s just hope this is a one time tribute.
If you like Nirvana, then you might also like OurStage’s own Fiction Reform.
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Warped Tour and Feed Our Children NOW!, an organization which helps coordinate food drives across the country, have teamed up to offer charitable Warped Tour attendees a shot at free tickets. All you have to do to enter is donate to Unite The United or Feed The Children NOW!, and get friends to do the same. You can check out all the details after the jump. (more…)
Michael “Flea” Balzary, the usually/mostly naked, hair-dyed, wildboy bassist for Red Hot Chili Peppers, has released his first ever solo album, entitled Helen Burns. However, in contrast with his rambunctious stage presence and famously upbeat alternative funk rock band, the new album “is a mostly instrumental, weird and arty record,” says Flea. “[T]he music is mostly just me creating soundscapes that are very emotional for me, but certainly not for everyone! Just me tripping out at home.” It’s available here as a name-your-price download or 180-gram vinyl, and all proceeds go toward The Silverlake Conservatory of Music, described by the musician as “a community based non profit music school that I am an integral part of.” Whether or not you’re a fan of RHCP, this is highly recommended listening – you might be pleasantly surprised.
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We never thought we’d be in favor of the concept of rock bands giving lectures, but then there’s this.
Grammy award-winning band Arcade Fire will be at the University of Texas at Austin on March 19 to discuss the socioeconomic crisis in Haiti, along with their own efforts within the region. The cause has always been close to the group’s collective heart, particularly for singer Regine Chassagne, who was born in the area. She, along with band members Win Butler, Will Butler, and Marika Anthony-Shaw, will discuss Haiti’s need for healthcare reform and First World aid. The lecture is intended to bring attention to the non-profit organization Partners in Health, through which the band has helped raise over $1 million dollars in ticket sales and licensing.
His charity, The Lupe Fiasco Foundation, launched Block By Block, an initiative he pledged would feed 100 hungry Chicagoans a day for the rest of August. We basically go and just provide hot meals to different parts of the community around the city. He told WGCI’s The Morning Riot. Basically, we just feeding 100 people every day until the end of the month. And hopefully we’ll expand it. So last year, we just did it for a day. This year, we’re doing it for fifteen, twenty days, and hopefully, it’s something that we keep expanding on. It’s one of the little initiatives we do. The foundation also supports educational programs and has a broader goal of empowering kids and young adults.
Lupe launched The Lupe Fiasco Foundation back in March, on the heels of his Lasers album release, announcing the launch at Chicago’s House of Blues. Prior to that, the rapper had been a huge hometown supporter since 2003, and partnered with organizations like the New Birth Christian Center and West Englewood Methodist Church to give groceries to Austin residents. Last year, he teamed up with Rhymefest (who was running for public office) for Vote To Eat, a campaign that provided registered voters a meal of turkey & cheesecake over the Thanksgiving holiday. Current initiatives for the foundation include The Little Man Project, The Youth Committee, Jaco Scholarship Fund and Off The Block programs.
It’s nice to know that Lupe isn’t all talk, and that his thought-provoking, conscious lyrics translate to his real life. His outspoken attitude toward the education system, and political climate in our country is backed by real action in the community. While his activism isn’t a surprise, he shares his do-gooder title with some of hip hop’s biggest stars.
The Country Music Association set the stage again for their annual CMA Festival in Nashville, TN. With artist appearances ranging from fan-favorites Taylor Swift and Shania Twain to newer guns like American Idol winner Scott McCreery, there was certainly something for everyone to enjoy.
But this isn’t your typical festival. Yes, fans do get to experience a weekend full of their favorite music, but this is a different business model. Artists volunteer their time, money and equipment to perform for them. What gives? As impressive as the lineup was and how many celebrities showed up to mingle with the crowd throughout the weekend, what’s more impressive is what purpose this gathering serves for the CMA. In 2006 CMA launched “Keep The Music Playing” (KTMP), a charity that supports music education in Metro NAshville Public Schools through the Alliance for Public Education. With the money raised from ticket sales and donations, the CMA has purchased nearly 4,000 instruments, funded music education campaigns, built music labs and donated to various regional charitable causes.
If a single institution can raise nearly 1.5 million dollars to charity in a single weekend event, how much of an impact could the collective efforts of the entire music world have on their surrounding communities? Yes, we’re all familiar with Live Aid and some of us in the younger crowd might have even been a part of the more recent Live 8, and these events had massive political backing. But this is a singularity: there is no consistency in what is done. Of course, there’s no denying the effect that tthe Live Aid concerts and rallies had, but it came and went. There was no follow-up, nothing continuous. It left our minds after the media hype was over. Since the CMA has a long-term investment with KTMP and needs to show results in order to keep functioning, it assuredly manages its funds and expenses in a decidedly more detailed manner. Not only that, but the whole country music community will be consistently aware of this particular social necessity.
Music has the power to bring people together: what better cause than this?
Musicians are no strangers to social commentary. Throughout the years artists have used their music to catapult important causes to the forefront of their audience’s mind, spawning social change and charitable awareness across the globe. There isn’t a person on the planet who would deny Bono’s dedication to goodwill, morphing his rock and roll status into “the face of fusion philanthropy.” And for every Bono, there are a thousands more artists spreading messages of change and awareness about causes that are near and dear to their hearts. We’re proud to include one of OurStage’s own in this category. Trig Ashes created the music video for “Know You” with an important message in mind. He took the time to share with us, in his own words, a cause that will maybe touch you as well.
“Parental Alienation Syndrome or PAS occurs when there is a separation between two adults who have children and conditions are made jeopardizing the quality of the relationship between a child and a parent. The conditions may be imposed by the opposite parent or may result indirectly from a ruling made by family mediation. This infringes on what would otherwise be a healthy relationship for everyone involved. Everyone may have heard of the parent who went to the store to buy milk and never returned. This represents an unfortunate situation.
“My commitment to PAS is driven by my own experiences and compassion to raise awareness. My father passed away when I was very young. In dealing with my loss I observed my peers who did have both parents and the structure of the families relationships. Having one parent absent from the home wasn’t uncommon but beyond that I observed at an early age the fabric and quality of the relationships of those who had an absent parent. I saw first hand the anger and pain of friends because of conditions and boundaries placed on the relationships with the parent who no longer lived in the home. After my eyes were opened to this behavior and as I grew to become an adult myself, the unthinkable happened. After a decade of watching my friends experience and deal with PAS, my own son was being exposed to this traumatic behavior. My heart was broken. I knew that I must use my music and my voice to speak for those who didn’t have a voice.
“In my goal of creating awareness are two components. The first component is to identify with children and parents so they might see a flagship realizing that they are not alone. Most of the time, in an emotionally traumatic situation as PAS, it is easy to feel isolated, as if that person feels they are they only one that this is happening to. Lacking coping skills, the effect is much more magnified for children. The second component is to provide resources and educate everyone to the unfortunate impact of PAS by allowing it to intrude on otherwise healthy relationships of children and their parents. There is no substitute for quality healthy relationships of children and the parents. I feel that by educating people, we can realize the consequences of PAS and help end the emotional harm done to children.”
This summer, while most of us sat back in our chaise lounges to soak up the sun, many a country star used their summer vacation for the good of the less fortunate. Whether these stars were at the helm of the project, or the fresh face bringing in the fans, there were dozens of events for country crooners to lend a hand to.
Back in the beginning whispers of summer, Toby Keith made his booming voice heard as he hosted his 6th annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic on June 12th and 13tth . Keith started the weekend with a Denim And Diamonds party on Friday night which included an expansive auction with prizes like a dinner party for you, Toby Keith and 20 of your closest friends, or an Alaskan adventure with Sig Hansen from Deadliest Catch. The event continued on Saturday with a golf tournament. In its six years, the donations, entry fees and bids in Keith’s kick ass auction have halped Toby Keith & friends raise over $2.85 million dollars for Ally’s House, an organization Keith helped establish to financially support families of pediatric cancer patients. Ally’s House was created in memory of the late daughter of Scott Webb, one of Keith’s original band mates. To date, Ally’s House has changed the lives of over 300 families in Oklahoma. Some may think that the economy is suffering, but for Keith, these children’s suffering is something far greater to think of.
Moving into July, Sheryl Crow headlined a charity event for an initiative created by President
Obama and Major League Baseball. Crow gave a free show in St. Louis during the All Star game weekend on July 11th . President Obama’s goal is to promote volunteering in your hometown. If each region is helped by local residents, we can improve our nation, one small town at a time. Think nationally, act locally, seems to be an ever present theme in country songs, and this project. Just do what you can, where you can.
Most recently, Halfway to Hazard hosted its 2nd annual Charity Trail Ride. Last weekend, August 22nd and 23rd , H2H orchestrated an ATV ride and charity concert to support Buckhorn Children and Family Center. This year, Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, Danielle Peck and other country crooners took the Crocketsville, Kentucky stage to kick off this charitable weekend with a concert.
The celebrity participation continued as Randy Houser, James Otto, Keith Anderson and other rough and tumble stars actually raced in the ATV ride itself the next day. The cause, Buckhorn Children and Family Center, is a nonprofit organization that strives to serve suffering children and families in Oklahoma and Kentucky. This year, the total amount raised exceeded $200,000 dollars in support of Buckhorn. It’s not a surprise, that with all these fun loving singers in attendance, that the event went all the way to hazard.
For a community that is so vocal about their overwhelming graciousness, it is nice to know that country music stars really put their money where their mouth is, truly using their celebrity to give back. Charity is something everyone can have a hand in, some more than others. And, judging by this summer’s immense effort to help those less fortunate, country stars are putting their enormous mitts to good use!