House of Blues: Night of Sweet Relief Benefit Concert
Local bands raise funds for musicians in need.
The bands Jeramiah Red, Kiev, I Hate You Just Kidding, Paulie Pesh, and May McDonough & Company recently performed at the House of Blues Anaheim to help raise funds for ill, disabled, and elder career musicians in need during the annual "Night of Sweet Relief" event.
The concert was one in a series of live music events across the nation and Europe put on by Sweet Relief Musicians Fund to help heal musicians in need. A five dollar donation was requested from music lovers in attendance to help raise funds for the organization that assists ill, disabled, and elder career musicians.
For Bill Bennett, president of Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, the reason for having such events is simple. “First and foremost I love music more than anything in the world so whatever I can do to support that I will,” said Bennett.
In addition, “The phone calls I get every day from musicians who are suffering, they have extremely heart-breaking stories about trying to get by. It gets me extremely motivated to find new ways to help them,” continued Bennett.
When asked why these five Southern California bands were chosen for the night’s benefit concert, Bennett replied, “I love our local scene,” and the fans agreed.
Stephanie Brunson from Orange and Sabina Della-Peruta from Garden Grove came out to see Kiev. “Seems like they are going to get big because they don’t sound like anyone else,” agreed the friends.
Although they would say that the Kiev’s music seems like a mix of folk and indie rock, “Their just so different, it’s so hard to place them in a category,” said Brunson.
Jeramiah Red was also a fan favorite at the Sweet Relief event and kept the crowd dancing and singing “woo hoo” to their bluesy rock n’ roll blend, especially during their rendition of “My Baby”.
While the House of Blues was packed by fans wanting to see Kiev and Jeramiah Red - bands that frequent the Anaheim venue - many also came out to listen to the three others getting their start in the music world.
May McDonough & Company had many friends and family out to support them. “Their sound is jazzy, but it’s got a modern twist to it,” explained Shannon Tokuda.
Tokuda is the sister of band member Rusty Hubert, who plays many of the band’s eclectic blend of “junk yard” instruments. Their indie sound certainly stood out and resonated with the crowd.
A group of seven friends came all the way from Yucaipa to see Paulie Pesh. When asked to describe the band’s style of music, Glen Gray replied, “It’s Paulie Pesh. That’s the style!” Friend Emilee Walker elaborated a bit with, “It’s folkin-good.”
Pesh himself was more than ecstatic to perform for the crowd and the cause. “I love the whole heart of it. When people can give to other people in a large way, it’s a model of success,” said Pesh.
He continued with, “When something bigger comes along that helps the underdog… that speaks to me.” His band in turn spoke volumes to the crowd with their passionate, pop orchestra blend.
After I Hate You Just Kidding finished their set, many were looking around for clarification on who the band was that just played. Their experimental folk-rock sound brought an interesting vibe to the concert and new fans wanted to know more about the band.
Paulie Pesh’s sentiment while on stage summed up the evening for all those involved in the cause. “I’m so freaking honored and psyched to be here, playing with these other bands tonight.”
The efforts of the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund continues year round. In addition to donations that are welcome at any time, volunteers are needed for the many events to come.
According to Sweet Relief intern and music major Mandy Lopin, “We’re trying to get an avid list of people who want to volunteer. We need a variety of ages, even high school students looking to do community service. We also need 18 and over as well as 21 and over for age restricted events.”
Music lovers, people who are fans of Sweet Relief and what they do, in addition to family and friends of local bands are their typical volunteers according to Lopin.
“Sweet Relief is a really important non-profit organization that is not only in the OC but around the country. It’s important to keep non-profits like these alive. Music and arts are so under-funded in schools and even across the country and this is a good way to keep musicians healthy and functioning in their art form,” said Lopin.