Scraping together enough pennies, quarters, nickels and dimes to meet Critical Moment’s bills has become a tough task in the last year. After publishing our last issue, we found ourselves in a rather bleak financial situation. Advertising sales had dried up and we didn’t have enough funds to cover printing costs. So, this December, we decided to have a holiday fundraiser to make up for our advertising deficit, and we were delighted with the outcome. Not only did it help us pay our printing costs, but it also served as a good barometer of the community’s support for our publication.
The Dec. 14 event drew an eclectic crowd of more than 50 people to Detroit’s Trumbullplex Theater. We raised enough cash to meet our debts — and even got a good start on covering this issue’s expenses. Our editorial collective members also had a blast dancing, eating holiday treats and meeting our readers face-to-face.
One of the best part’s of the evening was getting a chance to listen to the talented musicians who donated their time and musical chops to the Critical Moment cause. The event kicked off around 9:30 p.m. with DJ Ho-na-na, a former T-Plexer, who got the evening going with some stirring jams. After that Fuzzy, a musician and CM supporter from Ferndale, played a rousing set of old-timey ukelele and kazoo music. A guitar student from a young age, he picked up the ukulele while traveling around to different Occupy Movement sites over the last year.
Following that, the Insurgency took their turn at the stage. They did a great job of getting the crowd onto the dance floor with their catchy, rhythmic rock-and-roll. The Insurgency lineup consists of Greg Panzica on guitar and vocals, Leslie Glapa on bass, Sherry Lutz on guitar and Hans Barbe rounding things up on drums. CM’s fundraiser certainly wasn’t their first benefit. The Detroit-area activist rock band frequently donates their time and energy to raising money for various causes and their music reflects an intense interest in challenging contemporary political realities. Insurgency is scheduled to play again at the T-plex on March 9. To find out more, visit them at facebook/theinsurgencyus.
Detroit-based acoustic Americana band Poor Player stepped up next, with a series of tunes from their upcoming album, “High Holy Hills,” which will be released this summer. The crowd sang along with Matt Fredricks on “No Police in Paradise.” Matt founded Poor Player three years ago. In addition to writing the songs, he plays acoustic guitar and harmonica. Mark Biermann plays bass guitar and upright bass; Stuart Tucker backs them up with drums and percussion.
Fred Vitale, a member of the CM editorial collective, plays keyboards for the band.
“We had a great time,” Fred told us afterwards. “We’ve wanted to play at T-plex and it was a blast to play with our good buddies from the Insurgency and meet the great talent from Rocket Mcflyy and the Free Radicals.”
Next up was Rocket Mcflyy and they certainly didn’t slouch — grinding out some seriously moving jams that brought the evening to a fever pitch. The band is a blend of Jonathan Rocket, Sirvantus McFLYY III, Michael Moore who plays lead guitar, JAWZ on bass, Brando Vick on Rhythm Guitar and B on Drums. The group has been around in various incarnations for about ten years. Rocket told CM that the group actually started out as more of an R&B outfit. Since then, it’s evolved into a rap-infused belt-out-the jams rock band with serious funk undertones.
Rocket was reluctant to label their sound, but their ReverbNation profile describes them as “influenced by a plethora of greats, spanning from rock legends as classic as Queen, Hendrix, and The Beatles, yet still tempered with the contemporary rhythmic and melodic stylings surrounding their cultured urban upbringings.”
It also says their music is built on a foundation of inner peace, outer freedom and positive growth. This sense of consciousness was definitely on display at the holiday gathering. Rocket told Critical Moment they all had an awesome time. He added that it was an honor for them to play the Trumbullplex, a well-known center of DIY music and culture. For more information about their band, visit rocketmcflyy.com.
The night wrapped up with a heavy hit of electro-techno bass from DJ A-sharp. The Detroit-based artist has been playing electronic music for about 12 years. He describes his sound as “mostly Detroit-oriented break beat electronic, but it’s kind of a little more street oriented, not just a disco club beat.” Before getting into digital beats, he tried his hand at bass guitar and drums in a variety of local rock bands and also played in a number of hip-hop outfits. You can find out more about A-Sharp at soundcloud.com/mychronic_techniq , as a featured artist at technobass.net and on his facebook page. Although A-Sharp’s set was short on words, the artist told CM that he enjoyed having the opportunity to support the paper and it’s work.
“It was a great gathering of community,” he said. ”I think it’s cool to see people from all different walks of life: folk music and electronic music and rap music. It’s just cool to see people with the same common interest in helping out the community donating their time.”