Heroes: A Benefit for Local Recording Artists at the Varsity, 1/28/11

Heroes: A Benefit for Local Recording Artists (with the Alarmists, Brian DeRemer, Chris Koza, Kicks and Spurs, White Light Riot, and DJ Solid Gold)
January 28, 2011
Varsity Theater, Minneapolis

Little more than a month after that atrocious break-in at Alarmists frontman Eric Lovold's home-based Instrument Control Studios--you know, the one that took place on Christmas Eve, resulting in the loss of over $25k worth of equipment--it would seem that the Twin Cities' music community is fully swinging in support of one of its own.

Friday night, the Varsity Theater was swelling with a legion of local talent as the Alarmists, Brian DeRemer, Chris Koza, Kicks and Spurs, White Light Riot, and DJ Solid Gold came together for the Heroes: A Benefit For Local Recording Artists show, assembled by Lovold. The benefit was designed to help raise funds for musicians Brian DeRemer and the Kicks and Spurs to re-record the near-complete albums that were lost when Lovold's studio was raided.

There were many facets to this elaborate evening: there was an art auction (with over a dozen original works by artist Paul Rolfes), live art also being created to be auctioned off that evening, a raffle sponsored by 89.3 the Current and other donors, massive support from the crowd, and an overwhelming positivity amongst all the musicians backstage.

Heroes: A Benefit for Local Recording Artists at the Varsity, 1/28/11

As Lovold greeted the audience, graciously thanking them for taking the time to care, I stood back, watching his form as he picked up his guitar and started the night with a slow acoustic song. There were no flowery speeches from Lovold, no calls to arms or wallowing statements--he was all smiles, all poise, and all about the music. Barb Abney of the Current was emceeing the evening, and as the Alarmists started their set, she was full of stories about her fondness for Lovold. Throughout the evening, she frequently hopped on stage between sets to raffle away items and encourage audience members to say "Eff you to the musical Grinch" (even creating a hashtag for the event--"#fuckthegrinch").

Sneaking around backstage and in the Varsity's greenroom, I caught members of the Kicks and Spurs and Brian DeRemer's band doing improvised acoustic riffs, chatting about nothing and enjoying themselves. The world behind the stage is not so different from the world in front of it, and it is reassuring to know that in spite of adversity, the music does indeed play on--loudly, and with great rhythm, and to the crowd's pleasure.  Eff the musical Grinch, indeed.

Linnea Mohn of Rogue Valley
Linnea Mohn of Rogue Valley

Critic's Bias: Having been following this story and talking with Eric frequently since the break-in, and also being familiar with most of the bands on the bill, I would say the bias was pretty high. I knew what to expect, and I expected to enjoy it.  
The Crowd: Hugely supportive, and ever-thickening as the night rolled on.
Overheard In The Crowd: "You're the MAN, Chris Koza!" screamed one audience member following Koza's set. (Koza smiled somewhat sheepishly and thanked the screamer.)
Random Notebook Dump: I am consistently surprised and delighted to find that the music community in the Twin Cities is comprised of some thoroughly wonderful people. Not that I didn't expect it, but... well, I didn't expect so much of it.
For more photos: See our full slideshow by Stacy Schwartz.

Set list:

The Alarmists
Rhyme & Reason
Car Crashing
You're Right
Hey Kid
The Country
Mr. Albright
New Romans
Good Advice

Brian DeRemer
$1300 Dollars
Small D
The Expert
The Tunnel
Common Occurrence

Chris Koza w/ Linnea Mohn
Cleaning Slates
The Bottom of the Riverbed
Centralia, PA
Somewhere in Massachusetts
Red River of the North

Kicks and Spurs
For You
Better Off
One Call
Time it Took
Two Geese

White Light Riot
City Teek
In the Details
Wolves in the Night
Out of Sight
Queen of the Boroughs
Becoming the Villain

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