I was on holiday in Florida last week, so I missed the much publicized international broadcast of Hope for Haiti Telethon. This concert, spearheaded by George Clooney and Wyclef Jean, shattered previous charity broadcasts raising a whopping 57 million dollars in one evening. The digital album of the performances debuted at number 1 on the Billboard charts. I really enjoyed this album- the song choices are poignant and truly capture the somber situation in Haiti. It’s refreshing to hear Beyonce strip down her song Halo, singing over just a single piano accompaniment. Taylor Swift covers one of my favorite songs by Better Than Ezra in her impressive rendition of Breathless (no wonder that girl won a Grammy!) The combination of Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock and Keith Urban works for Lean on Me, adding their southern rock flavor. Madonna’s voice is weak in the beginning of Like a Prayer, but the choir gives her the boost she needed to pull out the performance. The best performance on this album is the chilling version of Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah performed Justin Timberlake and up-and-coming singer/songwriter Matt Morris. It was surprising to see Bono step out of the limelight on Rihanna and Jay-Z’s Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour). I would have predicted that he would have performed an acoustic version of One, but opted for glorified backup singer instead. Wyclef ends the album on a much-needed upbeat track with Rivers of Babylon/Yele medley.
Here are some other ways you can contribute to the relief efforts in Haiti by the simple act of downloading music:
Simon Cowell is in the process of gathering top recording artists to record the single “Everybody Hurts”. Artists on board with the project include Kylie Minogue, Rod Stewart, Mika, Michael Buble, Robbie Williams, Take That, Leona Lewis, Susan Boyle, and James Morrison. The single will be available for download on February 7th. Proceeds will go to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).
Paste Magazine has compiled 250 (many previously unreleased) songs from artists such as Of Montreal, Ludacris, She and Him available for download for anyone who donates to Haiti through their website: http://www.pastemagazine.com/songsforhaitiMoney donated through the Paste website will be split between three charities – Doctors without Borders, Red Cross and Wyclef’s Yele Charity.
If you donate $15 to Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders or Oxfam, Chicago rockers Wilco will reward their fans with free downloads of two live concerts for download off their website. http://www.wilcoworld.net/causes/index.php
Linkin Park frontman Mike Shinoda has created the Download to Donate For Haiti project. Stars like Peter Gabriel, Hoobastank, Alanis Morisette, Enrique Iglesias , Slash, Dave Matthews Band and All-American Rejects have all contributed tracks to this website. http://www.musicforrelief.org
Anyone interested in owning Muse’s drumkit? How about the Artic Monkeys’ Alex Turner’s Guitar? Still need VIP tickets to Glastonbury? Check out the Oxfam Ebay auction: http://stores.shop.ebay.co.uk/Oxfam-Shop For the mere price of 5200 quid (at press time), I can even have Damon Albarn write me a song! Happy bidding! (If anyone needs a date to Glastonbury, I'm available by the way...)
I really love it that so many celebrities have come together so quickly after this tragedy to raise these funds. Kudos to George Clooney MTV, and Wyclef Jean for creating a telecast to raise a staggering $57 million dollars. I’m sure we’ll be seeing many more charity performances and albums in the weeks to come. And we all know that Haiti will continue to need this aid for years to come.
Brian Fallon and Dave Hause
A few months ago, thanks to Pandora, I discovered the music of The Gaslight Anthem. Imagine Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty singing in a punk rock band, mixed with a litte blues and soul. The members of The Gaslight Anthem admit to being heavily influenced by Bruce and have even been joined onstage at Glastonbury by The Boss himself. Although their first albumSink or Swim was released in 2008 to decent critical acclaim, their sophomore release The '59 Sound has been much more commercially and critically successful. I prefer The '59 Sound and think it's one of the few albums you can listen to in full without wanting to skip a single track. Before going to this show, my friends shared stories about the massive moshpit and crowd surfing at last year's show. I was curious to see if frontman Brian Fallon could effectively perform these same songs and keep his fans' attention with just an acoustic guitar.
During the sold out performance at The Bowery Ballroom on January 15th, I felt like I had gathered in Brian's basement (along with 500 of his closest friends) for some stories about songwriting and one massive sing-a-long. At times, the voices in the crowd almost overpowered Brian's voice. His setlist was half The Gaslight Anthem songs and half cover songs. Brian made sure to play all the fan favorites from The '59 Sound including Great Expectations, Old White Lincoln and Miles Davis and The Cool. My favorite moment of the evening occurred during Here's Looking At You Kid - a song which he describes all of his past loves. After the verse which describes Anna who lives on Seventh Avenue in Brooklyn, the crowd (presumably those from Brooklyn) erupted in screams. At that moment, Brian stopped singing the song and told us more details about Anna, saying that she still works at the Co-Op in the Slope. Then he just picked up where left off in the song. Between songs throughout the set, he sprinkled in funny stories about touring, songwriting and living in New Jersey. After what felt like only ten minutes (but had actually been ninety minutes), his support act Dave Hause joined him onstage for an encore made up entirely of cover songs. From a chilling performance of Tegan and Sara's Call It Off to Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire to a grittier interpretation of Kelly Clarkson's I Do Not Hook Up, Brian's versatility was amazing. To my surprise, a man armed with an acoustic guitar and witty charm can satisfy an audience of punk fans.
Members of BAB meet Brian Fallon after the show
Notable Upcoming Shows around New York:
Vampire Weekend 1/19 Bowery Ballroom (Manhattan)
Your Vegas 1/22 The Canal Room (Manhattan)
We Are Scientists 1/23 Maxwell's (Hoboken)
Britt Daniel (Spoon) 1/23 Sound Fix (Williamsburg) **FREE ACOUSTIC SHOW!**
Rufus Wainwright 1/27 Rose Theatre at Lincoln Center (Manhattan)
The Soundtrack of Our Lives 2/16 The Fillmore at Irving Plaza (Manhattan)
Howie Day 2/25 City Winery (Manhattan)
Cage The Elephant 3/2 Bowery Ballroom (Manhattan)
Muse 3/5 Madison Square Garden (Manhattan)
Big Apple Brits NYC British Expats Community New York City USA - Rachel VanDeVoorde's blog