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Gimme Shelter unites local talent to raise money for Haiti

There was more than just music on people's minds Saturday night at First Avenue, as they filled the club for Gimme Shelter: A Benefit for Haiti. Not only were there plenty of great local bands and intriguing artwork on display throughout the night, but all the proceeds from the evening went to support relief efforts in the earthquake ravaged island of Haiti. Normally, such tragic events would cast a somber pall over the proceedings, but the bands and the crowd chose to play it pretty loose, buoyed by the turnout and the knowledge that in our own small way we were making a difference, providing aid to a country filled with people in desperate need of assistance.

Zoo Animal
Zoo Animal
Photo by Jon Behm

The mercurial music of Zoo Animal got things going early, and the three-piece made their debut performance on the First Avenue stage a strong one. Frontwoman Holly Newsom's breathy vocals really reminded me of Chan Marshall, and she intently lead the band through a brooding, atmospheric set that established an auspicious tone to the evening that the other performances only added to.

Peter Wolf Crier
Peter Wolf Crier
Photo by Jon Behm

The bucolic two-piece Peter Wolf Crier delivered a stirring, determined set that showcased not only the strength of the songs on their wonderful debut album, Inter-Be, but also made clear that frontman Peter Pisano can command any stage he steps onto. His impassioned, riveting songs rang clear in the venerable nightclub, and enraptured all who were there to witness the performance. The solid, spare drumming of Brian Moen gave the songs a core, but Pisano's earnest vocals gave them their heart during the duo's engaging, engrossing set.
 

Mike 2600
Mike 2600
Photo by Jon Behm

DJs Jimmy 2 Times and Mike 2600 held things down admirably between bands, spinning tunes that kept the crowd entertained and energized, while also providing a seamless transition from set to set. And by the time Mark Mallman came on stage, the audience was ready for anything.

The snazzy showman wasted no time getting the attention of the audience, kicking off his set with an energetic cover of LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends." His lively, uninhibited performance was quite a spectacle, but still had the tunes to match, with great versions of "You're Never Alone In New York" (sadly without Craig Finn's excellent cameo), "The Fool On The Hill," and a set closing cover of the Who's "Baba O'Riley" that more than made up for in sheer energy what it was lacking in accuracy.

Adam Hurlburt and Zach Coulter of Solid Gold
Adam Hurlburt and Zach Coulter of Solid Gold
Photo by Jon Behm

Solid Gold closed out the night with a strong set that focused more on their own material than their covers-heavy set on the same stage the week prior at the Current's 5th Birthday. The songs from Bodies Of Water have really been road tested by now, and have a portentous quality to them that was lacking a bit on the record. Older songs like "Calm Down," "Neon Rose," and "Who You Gonna Run To?" had an added intensity that blended quite well with their newer songs, including a stellar version of "One In A Million." The group also brought Mark Mallman back out to help sing on "Danger Zone," who added some zeal to an already spirited cover. The band finished their set with a rousing "Get Over It" that proved to be a stellar finish to a meaningful, uplifting evening.

Everyone's heart was clearly in the right place on Saturday, as we helped raise a great deal of money for the anguished people of Haiti. A good collection of bands and a great cause proved to be enough to get people to fill First Avenue, and even though more work still needs to be done, it was nice to know that we were doing what we could to help people in need.

See also: Jon Behm's full slideshow of live photos from Gimme Shelter, and Denis Jeong Plaster's shots of the crowd and backstage.




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