So, before all of that introspection crap started happening I was actually having an amazing weekend.
The story picks up mere seconds after my Friday post, which was interrupted by Dante’s appearance to ferry me and my various PA equipment to The Dark Horse on South Street for a benefit for Stand Up For Kids.
Stand Up For Kids is a nationally recognized and acclaimed charity that supports homeless and at-risk kids and teens. They offer many levels of service, from counseling children at risk for leaving home, to conducting outreach to kids on the streets, to staffing and maintaining outreach centers where teens can get help in obtaining a birth certificate or finding an apartment.
The Philadelphia chapter of Stand Up For Kids needs support to provide that full complement of services. Their benefit raised money towards supplies for their outreach packets – like juice boxes, deodorant, or sweatshirts – as well as for an outreach van that would allow them to be more mobile in their efforts.
Arcati Crisis has played a slew of shows this year, but the SUFK benefit ranks high amongst our favorites.
First, The Dark Horse Pub is a fantastic bar – one of my favorites in all of Philly. It’s just north of South on 2nd – across from Headhouse. The pub is comprised of multiple rooms that each have their own personality, all clean and comfortable and serving delicious food along with their drinks.
Second, the bill – we played with a lineup of people who we would go out of our way to see. Seriously. It was such a profoundly humbling experience to be listed in the middle of the people whose songs I hum while I walk down the street.
Joshua Popejoy, a model of sharp hooks and specific strumming, and increasingly my go-to for all discussions of mixing. Bill Butler, an outstanding songwriter and one of my favorite Philly vocalists, and the director of the charity The Philadelphia Sessions. Dante Bucci, a virtuosic percussionist who has transformed a zen instrument into a songwriter’s treasure, and who can engineer a PA solution for any space. Jon Glaubitz, an enormously talented guitarist and songwriter with a chameleonic ability to blend in anywhere – no matter if it’s a coffee shop or a rock club. And Andra Taylor, an arresting new voice on the Philly scenes, her hypnotically circular guitar riffs evoking a prism of contemporaries from Patti Griffin to Madonna. And, we made new friends – with David Miller and Jeremy Davis, performers we surely will see again in the future.
However, beyond all of those pleasures was the charity itself. SUFK volunteer, event organizer, and AC-fan Nina found the right venue to turn a gathering into a celebration, found the right music to fill it, and then packed the room to the very limit of its capacity.
Throughout the night Nina sent SUFK volunteers up to the microphone to share their stories about the organization while we set up for the next artist on the bill. The one that really caught me came after our performance – maybe because we were still trembling from a powerful closing swing through “What’ll I Say” and “Apocalyptic Love Song,” or maybe just because she was so very compelling.
She spoke about how she helped to found the Philadelphia chapter four years ago, and how at the time it was just a handful of people who wanted to make an impact. She spoke about how we all pass homeless children every day without realizing that we see them, partially because they so desperately don’t want to be homeless that they will do anything to blend in. She spoke about how – four years later – she is so energized by the enthusiasm of her fellow volunteers and the changes they effect in the world, but that they aren’t enough – they need more support and more volunteers to truly change the streets of Philadelphia.
When she was through I found myself with tears welling in my eyes.
All of these things we do take time. Four years ago Arcati Crisis was an in-joke name for our studio recordings. Four years ago Dante Bucci didn’t know what a hang drum was, and Andra Taylor had no idea she’d be living in Philadelphia.
In that four years we’ve devoted to ourselves, Stand Up For Kids has devoted itself to others, and because of our collective commitment we were able to come together last Friday to share and celebrate positive music and a positive message. We came together into a room as strangers to each other and left with a common cause.
That is the best kind of gig to play, and after the clouds of my weekend introspection clear on a bright Monday morning that is the memory that I’m going to take with me. Even if our music only made SUFK twenty dollars it was worth every minute of playing. If I could raise a thousand I would play for days at a time, stopping only to breathe.