|Michael Franti & Spearhead|
Michael Franti & Spearhead, G. Love, The North Mississippi AllStars, and Wildermiss held a hurricane relief concert for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The bands delivered a much-needed musical reprieve from the news of shootings, politics, and natural disasters. It was a celebration of life and a perfect way to end summer.
|Michael Franti – All photos by
The Rock and Roll Princess
Breckenridge Brewery played disco music to warm up the audience for Michael Franti & Spearhead. The sold out crowd started dancing and indulging in the brewery’s offerings. The barefoot musical giant (he’s 6 feet 6 inches) continued the celebration singing about inspiration, love, and tequila. During the span of the concert, Franti had the crowd put their arms around each other, Do Si Do, and jump (lots of jumping) in a party version of Simon Says. Beach balls were tossed around during Summertime is in My Hands as the sun beat down upon the masses. There was a runway leading to a smaller stage in the middle of the venue. Franti used it to break through the crowd while high-fiving everyone nearby. When he got to the second stage, Franti pulled up fans to dance with him. A woman celebrating her fiftieth birthday enjoyed the experience a little too much and kissed him directly on the lips. Before Franti left the secondary stage, he sang My Lord – “My Lord, my Lord, My Lord/Show me all the things I need to know/My Lord, my Lord, My Lord/Take me to the place I need to go.” He instructed the crowd to jump up and down once again as he made his way back to the main stage.
With a message of peace and positivity, Michael Franti expressed “It’s the little things that count. That extra smile, the extra hug, that extra song you sing to somebody…. These things count more than ever. These days when things are so hard for so many people, it means more and more each day that each of us take the time to go out of (our) way to make somebody else feel significant (for) just a little bit.” That’s when he went out into the crowd to perform We Are All Earthlings and instructed the crowd to take off their hats and wave them around during the crescendo of the song. Extending the harmonious vibe, Franti sang I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like). The crowd sang along to the chorus repeating, “I’m Alive, I’m Alive, I’m Alive” while … jumping up and down. The show ended with the band, the stagehands, and the security team joining together to sing John Lennon’s Imagine. Instead of just leaving the stage, the entire band went into the audience and hugged people by the front of the stage (I helped spread the love by hugging Carl Young the bass player and Jay Bowman the guitar player). Michael Franti went into the audience as well. He listened to fans’ stories of how his music inspired them and took selfies to the delight of everyone around him.
|G. Love and The North Mississippi Allstars|
The day before the benefit The North Mississippi AllStars were at Breckenridge Brewery (same venue) opening up for Big Head Todd and the Monsters. The band consisting of brothers Luther Dickenson and Cody Dickenson with bass player Rob Walbourne stayed an extra day to join the benefit concert. G. Love was performing with his band Special Sauce at an October Festival in downtown Denver. He stayed an extra day to join The North Mississippi AllStars for a joyful set of music. It’s not the first time they have collaborated. G. Love recruited Luther Dickenson to play on the track Just Fine for his 2010 Fixin’ to Die album. They played that song which highlighted G. Love’s rapping and Luther Dickenson’s amazing guitar playing. G. Love’s Cold Beverages had the Dickenson brothers smiling while the crowd held up their beers to sing along, “Strawberry daiquiris and a colada/I need a whole lotta them/Fruit drinks to catch me a buzz/I must tell you I’m the/Cool aid kid/Before you serve my drink/Please stick it in the fridge.”
Denver’s own Wildermiss started the hurricane relief concert off in the early afternoon before the crowd started to sunburn. They were all dressed in black jeans with white converse shoes. It was either their band uniform or the start of some kind of kooky cult. Joshua Hester’s and Seth Beamer’s guitars drove their pop rock sound. Drummer Caleb Thoemke kept the rhythm while singer Emma Cole channeled her inner Hayley Williams (the front woman from Paramore). Carry Your Heart got the audiences attention with its handclap chorus and shouts of “Hey, Hey, Hey.” Keep It Simple was the first track written by the band. The combination of guitar hooks and false endings created a memorable song. Wildermiss will be releasing their first EP later on in the month to expose their music to people outside of the confines of a brewery.
See you at the next show. I’ll be the one hugging the band.