Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Night Of Music In Memory Of Melissa Rich Mulcahy - a Recap

I'm still recovering from last Friday night's event. A Night Of Music In Memory Of Melissa Rich Mulcahy was a huge success.

We raised a great deal of money and we turned the Northampton Center For the Arts into the friendliest rock club you've ever seen. The beautiful old room echoed like a museum while the disco ball lights whipped over the intricate carving details of the great ceiling. Friends, family, and fans kept piling in as the night progressed and volunteers were at hand in every nook and cranny to lend a hand.

In the back of the room, Lesa Bezo manned the silent auction. Two long tables, lit with blue and red lights were covered in works donated by local artists, from scarves to paintings to dolls to coffee cozies to photographs and drawings. Also back there, was a table of raffle prizes, topped by an electric guitar that was signed by all of that evening's performers.

In a corner room, John took care of the "bar area", which was a series of coolers and bags that people had brought with them. This room was kept surprisingly empty which was a testament to the music coming from the stage in the main room.

At the front door, Kelly LaMay, Sam Sylvain, Carla Racine, and Debbie Way, took door money and stamped hands and checked lists and sold hundreds of raffle tickets.

At the stage, Scott Bow Bow Brandon ruled over the sound system, a most difficult and stressful job that he executed excellently and confidently. On the stage were two full drum sets, six guitar amps, two keyboards and amps, and a crazy number of microphones. All of these items were loaned and borrowed and shared and they were all carted in and out by volunteers with strong backs and endless energy.

The show started right on time at 8:00 with The Hummingfield and National Carpet and the night suddenly burst into a concert. At this point my back started to completely give out and the evening begin to take on a dream-like blur as I went up and down the stage as the emcee and raffle-guy. The two bands combined forces to play a song from each and then a delightful cover of REM's "Catapult".

They were followed by Lo Fine and Haunt. Lo fine's Kevin O'Rourke stepped up to the stage straight off of the Mass Pike after a long journey from Cape Cod for the show. Haunt performed a delicate cover of The Smiths "Please Let Me Get What I Want" and Lo Fine stripped things way down as Kevin silenced the room with his a capella introduction to one of their own tunes.

Next up was the Rub Wrongways Records group which combined School for the Dead, The Fawns, Sitting Next TO Brian, The Aloha Steamtrain, and Bourgeois Heroes. We had prepared a medley for our first number. It was a smooth romp. It went like this in order: Bourgeois Heroes "Let's Build A Farm", The Aloha Steamtrain "Many A Wonderful Thing That Gets Me High", Sitting Next To Brian "Familiar Old Sugar", The Fawns "Would You Stop?", and School for the Dead "Omnivore". We ended Omnivore by bringing back all of the choruses of the previous songs and singing them all at once. It worked pretty well.

Here's a video of it:

Our second number was "Dancing Queen" by Abba. I hope to have video that soon, too.

I could be getting the order confused, but I am pretty sure that the next act was a combination of The Claudia Malibu and The Caroline Know. I missed a good portion of their set as I was called away to take care of another issue in the building. Smokers kept getting locked out. But I did hear them do two originals and a cover of a Troggs song. Awesome.

Steve Westfield took the stage next and played a Mark Mulcahy song and then two of his own with a special guest band consisting of Mark Schwaber and Lou Barlow. All this and it wasn't even 10:00 yet.

After Steve, was a crazy combination of Spouse and Drunk Stuntmen that included guests Zeke Fiddle, Dave Trenholm, and Ken Maiuri. First Steve Sanderson of Drunk Stuntmen sang a Spouse song and then Jose Ayerve of Spouse sang a Dunk Stuntmen song then they all sang a cover of "Canary In A Coal Mine" by the Police! after which Zeke Fiddler sang "Waiting For A Superman" by Flaming Lips. It was epic.

This was followed by Winterpills and Spanish For Hitchhiking. By this point, my back was so knocked out that I was seeking out quiet corners to sit or lie down in. Or maybe I was sitting right in front of the stage on the floor along with so many others. I just really can't remember. I do remember that these guys did a cover of REM's "Fall On Me" with Flora Reed singing lead and I know Spanish for Hitchhiking did one of their songs and Winterpills played "Purple Pitchers".

After this was Tralfazz, described to me as Kurt Fedora's new band. They payed a couple of their own songs I believe and then Pink Floyd's "Time" with an introduction of "Run Like Hell". At least that's what I think happened.

After Tralfazz was the Connecticut portion of the evening with sets by The Mountain Movers, brilliant swirly psychedelic rock, Jeff Greene, sweet and earnest solo acoustic numbers, and Mr. Ray who played as a duet and then a trio with Ken Maiuri, lovely songs and harmonies.

Rounding out the bill was a secret reunion by Dinosaur Jr. It was a rare site to see these guys play such an intimate show with such a rudimentary sound system. I felt very much like I was back in the early 90's late 80's and was at some kind of college party concert. I was busted and worn and slumped down in the back of the room with ear plugs in. But I did muster up enough energy to go on the stage and encourage an encore.

I didn't get very many good photos of the evening, since I was so busy with other duties, so if anyone did, by all means please send them my way or point me to them. I'd like to have some more concrete evidence of what I remember was an unforgettable evening. Thank you.

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