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VOL. 123 | NO. 164 | Thursday, August 21, 2008

‘Rock for Love’ Kicks Off Tonight

By JONATHAN DEVIN | Special to The Daily News

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“Aristo-crunk,” noted regional garage bands and headliner hip-hop fill the program for the “SunTrust Rock for Love 2” concert Friday and Saturday to benefit the Church Health Center.

Event organizers said growing the sequel to last year’s debut concert was simply a matter of getting out of the way and letting it happen.

“Once the idea for Rock for Love got out there, all of a sudden all of these bands and musicians started piling on their enthusiasm and ideas,” said Marvin Stockwell, public relations manager for CHC. “It blew up into a big show last year. This year it’s an even bigger event.”

It features multi-band concerts Friday and Saturday at the Hi-Tone at 1913 Poplar Ave. across from Overton Park and kicks off with a VIP barbecue reception Thursday night at sponsor Ardent Studios. Memphis label Makeshift Music is co-presenting the concert.

Tickets will be available at the door or in advance at Goner Records or Shangri-La for $10 per night (Friday and Saturday) or $18 for both concerts. A donation of $100 includes admission to the Ardent reception, where guests can meet band members and listen to a performance by the Subteens.

‘Got their back’

Stockwell, a frontman himself for the local band Pezz, never worried about getting a good lineup of Memphis bands, but he was “blown away” when rapper/hip hop artist Al Kapone volunteered to play the concert late in the planning stage.

Kapone became aware of the event when CHC approached the Memphis Music Commission, of which he is a member, for sponsorship. Kapone soared into the national spotlight for his work on the score of filmmaker Craig Brewer’s Oscar-winning movie, “Hustle & Flow.”

The concert lineup on Friday includes Lord T and Eloise, Al Kapone, Two Way Radio, J.D. Reager and the Cold Blooded Three, and Vending Machine. Sports talk show host Chris Vernon of “The Chris Vernon Show” on 730 Fox AM will emcee.

Bands performing on Saturday are Snowglobe, the Coach and Four, Antenna Shoes, Oh No! Oh My! and the Royal Bangs with emcee Janet Wilson of “Janet’s Planet” on WEVL FM89.9.

Doors at the Hi-Tone will open at 8 p.m. both nights with shows starting at 9 p.m. A silent auction hosted by the women of the Memphis Roller Derby will accompany the concert.

“The idea behind the show is that the Church Health Center provides affordable health care for working folks, and in a music town like Memphis a lot of those working folks are musicians,” said Stockwell. “Rock for Love is a chance for musicians to support a great organization that’s really got their back.”

Whole lotta talent

Jeff Hulett, drummer for Saturday’s headline act Snowglobe, joined CHC’s public relations staff after performing in Rock for Love 1 last summer.

“When I first got hired here, I was super-pumped because I knew I’d get to work on Rock for Love,” he said. “Now I get to work it, promote it and then get to play it again.”

Snowglobe, in Hulett’s words, plays “happy pop music” with occasional moments of intensity. The group is working on its fourth album to be released this fall.

Novelty act Lord T and Eloise performs “aristo-crunk,” a 17th century take on hip-hop. Stockwell credits Lord T (Cameron Mann) with cinching the deal with Al Kapone.

Makeshift co-owner J.D. Reager, who plays with his own band and Two Way Radio, relies on CHC for health care.

“It’s fitting that the Memphis music community is coming together to support the work of the Church Health Center,” said Reager. “There are a lot of musicians here who don’t have insurance.”

As further evidence of Rock for Love’s sudden growth, Stockwell said that before ticket sales, the event had already raised more than twice as much as last year’s event. He hopes to raise nearly $20,000.

And if it gets even bigger next year?

“We’ve joked about Rock for Love 5 being a five-night show,” Stockwell said with a laugh. “I have no idea what next year’s show will be like, but I do know that with this kind of talent, I’ve got to believe we’re going to pack the Hi-Tone.”

For more information, call 272-7170 or visit www.churchhealthcenter.org or www.makeshiftmusic.com.

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