It’s been two weeks since the senseless tragedy at Pulse NIghtclub, and we’re starting to see some nice signs of healing. Last night in an Orlando Love event packed with local rock musicians and passionate fans, we saw camaraderie, laughter, fellowship and a hearty dose of rock ‘n roll, with more than a few memorable moments.
The organizers who collaborated to put this event together did a fantastic job and deserve a tremendous amount of credit for creating a fitting tribute. My heart felt thanks to Alikour Productions, Chris Marsh Productions, Maniacal Mojo, Von Skull Media and The Glorious Rebellion, as well as all of the sponsors who donated stellar auction items, and of course to the bands who sent all of the rock and roll animals home fully satiated.
Throughout the day, there were nonstop embraces, smiles, laughter and more than a few teary eyes in a crowd of friends all brought together for the same purpose.
The Haven was packed with local rockers from the bands performing, as well as other local bands there to lend their support. A special shout out to two guys in the crowd, Supa Dave and Meka Nism’s Bobby Keller. I don’t know either man personally, but they were both uber generous. In total, we saw almost 300 people contribute $5 to walk through the door, and combined with the auction items, the group raised nearly $3,000 for the cause.
I was able to stop by for about five hours where I caught half a dozen bands. I missed the opening act, Auditory Army, and then had to split before F.I.L.T.H. and Blaine The Mono closed the show, but did get into interact with various bandmembers as both acts were out early supporting the other performers. The music I did catch was pretty damn good.
Tampa’s Burning Fair Verona tore it up, highlighted by Anthony Marra’s visceral growls. These guys flew around the stage and delivered a great set. Fellow Tampa artist, Sunshine and Bullets delivered engaging Alt-Rock, including a killer cover of Phil Collin’s “In The Air” which was the perfect backdrop for Amanda Hamers intoxicating voice.
Gargamel! blew me away. Not sure where I’ve been for the past two decades, but this was my first Gargamel! experience, and they impressed the hell out of me. Fronted by Mandaddy, a cloak-wearing lunatic (and I mean that in the most endearing way), their set was a diverse mix of audacious rock, ska, metal and hip hop, and the musicians were spot on throughout the mayhem. Good stuff that I need more of.
My two highlights from day bookended the show for me. Kill The Sound took the stage early and rocked the house with a creative inclusive set. They rotated out guitarists throughout their thirty minutes ,with a handful of guest musicians, then delivered the early highlight when they invited a dozen singers onto the stage for a joyous rendition of “Expected.” Singer/bassists Kim Acoustic and Ally Sosa shined throughout and hung around all night (well, almost).
For me, the night closed with a brief acoustic set from Traverser, and it was the perfect way for me to wrap up a great day. The intimate set featured Jon Shaffer and David Medairos on guitars. After a poignant cover of Radiohead’s “High and Dry,” Medairos offered that the crowd just needed to focus on love and positivity, and kicked into a tender singalong version of John Lennon’s Beatles masterpiece “Across The Universe.” It was a beautiful exclamation point on a wonderful day of healing and sharing.
Sounds of laughter, shades of life are ringing through my open ears
Inciting and inviting me
Limitless, undying love which shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on, across the universe
Jai Guru Deva OM
Nothing’s gonna change my world…
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