Sure, the most fun gigs we play as a band are largely the ones with the big crowds, maybe an outside festival or a packed bar where everyone’s dancing and partying and sweating, and it’s just a pure rock fest. But there’s something to be said for playing a free gig like we did last night at the great Dogfish Head Ale House in Falls Church for the benefit of Mantua Elementary School. And it’s more than just the free microbrews for the band.

Sure, we were packed in a little like sardines in the dining area to play, the crowd thinned out to a handful of event organizers and loyal fans by the end of the last set, and we were even asked at one point by the manager on duty to turn down the volume of our already toned-down set (we didn’t). And singing into someone’s crab cakes and asparagus? Yep, for a rock band, restaurant gigs are generally a little odd.

But all in all, to be playing at a gig that really has a cause behind it, well, you can see why bigtime musicians really dig playing events like Live Aid, Conspiracy of Hope or other concerts for causes. The deal last night was that 15% of the proceeds from the evening’s receipts would go to Mantua Elementary, a well-touted local school attended by some of the kids of our band members and our fans. So to bring in us as an attraction after the onslaught of pasta-eating kids (“we ran out of pasta!” was a comment we heard from one of the waiters when we arrived) and their patient parents, who we hoped would put the kids to bed and at least one of them would return to hear us play, well, we really dug the feel in the room. And it seems they dug us too. Teresa Lemair, the school’s heroine who organized last night as well as similar benefits we’ve played there for other schools, left this heartwarming email in our inbox this morning and it made us all feel damn good:

Hey Second Wind!  Just wanted to once again THANK YOU for a ROCKIN’ evening! You guys are wonderful =)  Wish my girls had been there for ‘Country Road’, somehow (hmm, I wonder how) it sounds a LOT better with you all performing it than Mommy singing at the TOP of her lungs in the car!

Thank you so much for giving your time and making the party complete – you are all GREATLY appreciated and it wouldn’t have been the same without you! I haven’t gotten the word about how much money we raised yet, but you saw – the place was PACKED! People were really excited when you started playing.

Thanks again, Teresa 

Teresa was referring to our debut rendition of John Denver’s “Country Roads” which you know, didn’t sound half bad. No, we’re NOT getting soft. Just trying to tailor our repertoire a little for a gig like this. And it’s just really cool to put a smile on someone’s face no matter what the song. Kinda why we got into this thing to begin with.

(Want us to play a benefit for your organization? Call me at 202 631 1420 and we’ll chat.)


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