A job well done goes out to our friends at HeadCount who have just announced that last week’s HeadCount Participation Tour, which visited four cities with the likes of Dumpstaphunk, Anders Osborne and Keller Williams in tow, raised $12,000 for Sandy Relief. Not only did the concert series inspire voter turnout, but the shows put $12K in the coffers of City Harvest to help their effort to provide meals to New Yorkers most affected by Superstorm Sandy.
Dave Grohl has just been named the keynote speaker for SXSW Music 2013. The Foo Fighters front man has a tough act to live up to after Bruce Springsteen’s extremely engaging keynote speech at this year’s event. SXSW Music takes place Tuesday, March 12 – Sunday, March 17, 2013 in Austin, Texas.
Finally, Phish’s WaterWheel Foundation and the Mimi Fishman Foundation have joined forces to raise money for victims of Superstorm Sandy. Ticket/CD packages for every night of Phish’s upcoming New Year’s Run at Madison Square Garden are up for bid on the Mimi Fishman Foundation’s auction page. 100% of proceeds will go to victims of Sandy.
HeadCount Participation Party @ Highline Ballroom – November 5
Words: Chad Berndtson Photos: Jeremy Gordon
As we’ve often said in these pages, benefit shows with lots of announced special guests have a way of coming up short: packaged “moments,” awkward pacing, “super jams” that end up as little more than quick, haphazard exercises in pass-the-hat soloing on songs that aren’t so much improvisation vehicles as lowest common denominators.
But heading into last night’s HeadCount Participation Tour finale in New York, there was THAT feeling: a night where there’d be room to dance, smiles to share and some gnarly magic. That it was a rager — and whoa mama, was it — shouldn’t have been a surprise, seeing there are few bands more adept at high-energy throwdowns than Dumpstaphunk, accommodating guests in often-messy succession.
There were good vibes all around, and despite repeated insistence to vote, almost no actual politics from the stage. And yeah, you had a damn good cause on top of a damn good cause; HeadCount had announced late last week that it would turn the benefit partly into a fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy challenges.
UPDATE (10/23): You’ve got one more day to enter! Also, Questlove and Eric Krasno have been added to the concert.
HeadCount has been a bright light coming out of our scene since the non-profit voter registration organization was founded before the 2004 election. Eight years later HeadCount will celebrate the close of its 3rd election season of a job well done by teaming up with Magic Hat, CEG Presents and Nolafunk for a four-night HeadCount Participation Party tour featuring Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk and Anders Osborne. The tour will hit Baltimore (11/2), Philadelphia (11/3) and Washington, DC (11/4); culminating on November 5th, with the official Participation Party in New York City at the Highline Ballroom. At the finale, not only will Dumpstaphunk and Anders perform, but the event will also see some special guests with a few already announced – Amy Helm (Levon Helm Band, Dirt Farmer Band) and Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi All-Stars, Black Crowes).
Look for the two main acts to play full sets at the NYC finale while members of those bands and special guests (inc. Helm and Dickinson) will take part in a special all-star set. Tickets are available now through TicketWeb.
As part of our Everybody Wins When Lots Of People Register To Vote And In Return HeadCount Offers Us Free Shit To Give Away program, we’ve got a pair of tickets to the HeadCount Participation Party at the Highline Ballroom on November 5th for one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment below telling us what issue is most important to you this election day. We’ll pick one entry at random at 3PM ET on October 24th. You can enter a second time by leaving a similar comment on the Hidden Track Facebook Page and a third time by following @hidden_track and tweeting your most important issue at us. You must include both @hidden_track and #headcountparty in your tweet.
Here’s the fine print…
To enter, leave a comment below telling us what issue is most important to you this election season
Our friends at HeadCount have just launched their biggest social media voter registration drive ever today and that’s saying a lot considering the good work they’ve done since 2004. Artists from the jam world to the rock world to the indie world as well as celebrities are among the 200 celebrities and musicians who posed with HeadCount’s “Register To Vote” clipboards. By the time all these celebs and musicians share their pics with their followers, they will have reached over 100 million followers.
We’re starting to approach the deadlines to register to vote. If you haven’t already registered, head over to HeadCount’s Voter Registration Page to take care of business.
Last night the famed Capitol Theatre in Port Chester re-opened after years of planning and renovation. On Friday, the historic venue will host a benefit for HeadCount featuring Bob Weir and The Roots.
In addition to the two headliners, HeadCount has just revealed that Warren Haynes, Grace Potter and Bobby Keys will be among the special guests rounding out the bill. We’re also intrigued by the “others are expected as well” part of the announcement. A limited number of tickets remain, so we recommend getting in on this while you can.
Last Saturday night at Bob Weir’s TRI Studios, the Grateful Dead/Furthur guitarist came together with a band filled with Brooklyn based musicians from the indie world for an impressive pair of sets that were webcast as part of HeadCount’s The Bridge Session.
A few days back we posted “official” videos of four tunes from the performance, but today we came across a video containing two hours worth of footage featuring Weir along with Scott and Bryan Devendorf and Aaron Dessner from The National, Kyle Resnick, Thomas Bartlett as well as Sam Cohen and Josh Kaufman from Yellowbirds plus The Walkmen’s Walt Martin and Taka Taka’s Conrad Doucette. Thanks to VoodooNola2 for posting it. Take a look…
Months in the making, last night Grateful Dead/Furthur guitarist Bob Weir performed with members of The National, Yellowbirds and other Brooklyn-based musicians as part of a free live webcast called The Bridge Session put together by HeadCount and held at TRI Studios. The 10-person ensemble performed two sets that included plenty of Grateful Dead classics, a pair of The National’s songs and even a few choice covers. Of particular note was the first version of Weir’s My Brother Esau sung by Bobby since the Grateful Dead last played the Barlow/Weir chestnut on October 3, 1987 at Shoreline as well as takes on Bob Dylan’s Most of the Time and Cass McComb’s Love Thine Enemy.
Joining Weir in the indie-meets-jam all-star troupe were Aaron Dessner, Bryan Devendorf and Scott Devendorf of The National, Josh Kaufman and Sam Cohen of Yellowbirds, Walt Martin from The Walkmen, Conrad Doucette of Takka Takka, and National contributors Thomas Bartlett and Kyle Resnick. Bobby told Yahoo! Music that, “I was surprised by how many instruments in the ensemble we could get music out of. Usually that many instruments in an ensemble and everybody’s playing all the time it gets to be too thick … but these guys are good at leaving room for music to happen. And it did I thought.” Scott Devendorf told Rolling Stone he was really happy with the way it turned out, “For us, the night definitely exceeded expectations. We were surprised that it was even going to happen in the first place, and then as we were rehearsing it became more and more real.”
The setbreak featured a roundtable discussion using questions from audience members both in-person and via social networks moderated by HeadCount’s Andy Bernstein. HeadCount’s other co-founder, Disco Biscuits bassist Marc Brownstein, emceed the event. For the final three songs of the evening, Weir and the band formed a circle within the crowd and welcomed audience members to help out on Ripple, Uncle John’s Band and Brokedown Palace.
Tomorrow night, March 24, at 9PM ET/6PM PT, Bob Weir’s state of the art TRI Studios facility will host a free live webcast called The Bridge Session. For this two-set webcast, which will be broadcast on Yahoo! Music and through TRIStudios.com, Weir has invited some unexpected, but talented guests: the Devendorf brothers from indie band The National and some of their good friends from Brooklyn – bandmate Aaron Dessner, Thomas Bartlett, Kyle Resnick, Walt Martin of The Walkmen, Conrad Doucette of Takka Takka and Sam Cohen and Josh Kaufman of Yellowbirds.
The Bridge Session is a musical event and roundtable discussion aiming to raise awareness about the American political environment and to garner interest for the sponsoring organization, HeadCount. It also brings together musicians from two different genres, and while this isn’t the most conventional band lineup, it’s for a cause that everyone involved works hard to support – political activism among young people, especially live music fans.
“A lot of my passion these days comes from that I have a couple of kids and I don’t think that an older electorate is going to necessarily vote my kids’ interests, like younger people would,” Weir told Hidden Track.
“I want to get younger people involved because that’s the future; I want to see them take hold of that so that my kids will benefit. Also, just world-view wise, I always have tended to side with a younger outlook politically; I’ve always voted, since I was able to. I didn’t get turned onto it, I was just motivated and I want the people of this generation to feel the same way,” Weird continued.
Grassroots organization HeadCount has put together an event called “The Bridge Session” that will feature Bob Weir jamming with a band assembled by Scott and Bryan Devendorf of The National at the Furthur / Grateful Dead guitarist’s TRI Studios on March 24. The event will be webcast live free of charge, with Disco Biscuits bassist and HeadCount co-founder Marc Brownstein set to emcee.
Bringing together leaders of the jam and indie worlds, The Bridge Session “aims to bridge the gap between people of various tastes and viewpoints.” This one-time-only performance will feature a setlist containing both Grateful Dead and National tunes as well as cover songs with a political slant. GD lyricist John Perry Barlow will lead a roundtable discussion at setbreak that will “focus on issues that potentially unify people of divergent ideological perspectives – specifically, getting money out of politics and protecting the First Amendment.” Viewers can send in their questions for the panel via Twitter.
Scott Devendorf is reportedly working on a Grateful Dead tribute album that will feature indie acts. Last year we put together a list of artists and songs we’d like to see on that album.
For those looking at attend the event, HeadCount will sell 40 tickets to benefactors wishing to make tax deductible donations of $1,000 or more. Contact HeadCount at TheBridgeSession@headcount.org to buy these ducats or for more information.
When I first started working for HeadCount in 2005 and 2006, one of my very first roles was pounding the pavement at shows, with a clipboard in hand, registering voters at those concerts. Five-plus years later, HeadCount has taken things to the next level and analyzed all of the data they have collected both online and in-person since June 2011 as part of The HeadCount DNA Project. The report illustrates the differences and similarities between music fans in regards to their favorite bands, political leanings and more, a very cool idea and a valuable influx of data indeed. On a personal level, for those who volunteer for HeadCount, the DNA project allows us to see who makes up the people we speak to at shows and where their fundamental beliefs lie.
[How to Read: Out of 1,000 people who took the Fan DNA survey, 538 are Phish fans, 476 are Dave Matthews Band fans, and a 292 are Furthur fans. Of those, 148 are fans of both Phish and DMB, 122 are fans of Phish and Furthur, and 86 are fans of Furthur and DMB. 75 are fans of all three - via HeadCount]
I spoke to HeadCount Co-Founder Andy Bernstein about the results from the DNA Project. “It was interesting to see how answers varied from band to band and genre to genre,” he says. ”Indie rock fans were the most likely to be Democrats and show interest in different issues. Jam band fans were most likely to be libertarians or not party affiliated at all.” As Bernstein alluded to, the results from the DNA Project show that certain fans of certain bands (Maroon 5, John Mayer, O.A.R.) tend to be Republican heavy, while fans of the jam bands that HeadCount started their mission with (STS9, Disco Biscuits) tend to be more radical in their thinking.
This week for Postcards From Page Side, I decided to focus on an issue close to all of us, whether we realize it or not: voter registration and the impact on not only our scene, but our world in general. HeadCount is a non-profit organization focused on registering voters at live concerts, amongst other things. Co-founder Andy Bernstein was gracious enough to take some time to chat with me about HeadCount’s first eight years as a non-profit and what lies ahead for the organization with the impending election year in 2012. “It’s been a very interesting few years for us. In a lot of ways, I’m more excited and honestly more proud of the work we are doing this year than any of the years that came before it,” says Bernstein. “We really wanted to take it to the next level in 2011 and 2012 and take action, by taking the momentum of the election and turning our community into a force.”
My conversation with Bernstein quickly turns to not only the past and present of HeadCount, but also most importantly, its future, namely the election year of 2012. And trust me, HeadCount has big plans. More than just sending teams on the road to register voters, they are all about having “fun” at the shows while educating the masses. “Going into this year we took a kind of different approach. Our goal this year was to really have fun with the community on a socially conscious level. That was everything that we feel the previous years had been calling for. We wanted to just strengthen our tie to the community on a pro-social level and that would take us back into the presidential year with a whole new position and ability to reach people and get the vote out.”
Bernstein continues to elaborate on certain, specific ways that HeadCount is continuing to reinvent themselves. “We have done three major things this year. The first is a survey called the Fan DNA Project that we are doing at shows asking about their musical tastes and political beliefs. We are going to compare different fan bases and different festivals [to find out] what do we all have in common? Where are we different? What do we believe in? It will help the bands understand their fanbase better and HeadCount understand the people we are trying to reach better.”
READ ON for more on HeadCount’s history and future plans…
Yesterday, the members of the Disco Biscuits headed to the Albert M. Greenfield Elementary School in Philadelphia to see for themselves the city’s first public school with roof-top solar panels. The panels were the direct result of the band’s Bisco Power Mission fundraising efforts, a joint project with HeadCount and Mercury Solar Systems.
[Photos by Ashley Beliveau]
The Biscuits raised money for the installation of the panels at the Bisco Power Mission concert, which was held at Brooklyn Bowl back on March 21. According to the band, the concert raised $15,000 for “Greening Greenfield,” the organization that is heading up the school’s five-phase greening project. The Albert M. Greenfield Home and School Association contributed an additional $10,000, while Mercury Solar donated approximately $10,000 worth of labor and services. Magic Hat Brewing Company was also a sponsor of Bisco Power Mission.
In an age of Facebook, Twitter and any number of social media outlets capable of documenting the minutia of your day to day life, sometimes something as simple as the lost art of the phone call serves as the best way to connect with someone on a personal level. For their latest social activism campaign, HeadCount is doing just that by taking a back to basics approach in order to remind people to head to the polls to exercise the Constitutional right to vote in next Tuesday’s mid-term elections.
The non-partisan organization, that was founded in 2004 by Andy Bernstein and Disco Biscuits bassist Marc Brownstein, and has helped register over 175,000 people, has enlisted a impressive roster of musicians from the indie to jam world, that includes Jim James (MMJ), Willie Nelson, ?uestlove, Matt Berninger (The National), Jon Fishman (Phish) and Warren Haynes (ABB, Gov’t Mule) to not only pre-record reminder messages, but also make live personal calls to a select number of the approximately 25,000 people who have made a “Pledge to Vote” via HeadCount.
In a media conference call yesterday to talk about the inventive initiative, HeadCount board member Bob Weir (Grateful Dead/Furthur) stressed the importance of a “Vote For You” mentality, saying that young people need to take the future into consideration and participate instead of letting a bunch of “crusty old folks” made the decisions that have direct impact on their lives and those of future generations. Weir, who joked that his call list was so large he better get to work on it immediately, said that would seize the opportunity to talk to people to help figure out where the organization’s efforts will be centered in the future.
READ ON for more from HeadCount’s conference call…
Longtime friend of HT Richard Gehr’s latest post on the Headcount Blog looks at the continuing trend of artists covering albums – of their own or by other artists – and he hits upon a number of really good points. Yes, bands need to stop covering Dark Side of the Moon and yes, many artists cover albums for the wrong reasons.
We also agree with a number of ideas RG has for future full album performances including Phish playing Rift, Prince rocking Purple Rain and Pavement working up Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. Check out DaveO’s B List for ten examples of bands that followed in Phish’s footsteps by covering complete albums by other artists and be sure to read Richard’s article.
Here’s a look at six other stories of interest on this hump day…
Finally, My Morning Jacket bassist Two-Tone Tommy wouldn’t tell Relix who will be opening the band’s upcoming five-show “complete albums” run at Terminal 5 as the details weren’t confirmed at the time of the interview. Today the group has shared the names of the openers and they include Dungen on October 18, Hacienda on the 19th, Elvis Perkins in Dearland on the 21st, Holy Miranda on the 22nd and Everest on the 23rd.
Our friends at Charity Folks have launched a series of auctions to benefit HeadCount that include a number of unique experiences such as two VIP tickets to the Summer Camp Festival along with a golf cart ride with either Al Schnier of moe. of Umphrey’s McGee’s Brendan Bayliss. A meet and greet with Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes at Red Rocks and a special Mountain Jam package featuring a poster autographed by Haynes and the fest’s other headlining artists are also up for auction until May 31.
As always, we’ve got a fresh batch of links hot out of the oven…
Finally, jamtronica stalwarts The New Deal have announced a number of headlining shows in the Northeast scheduled for June as well as a gig at The Metro in Chicago on August 21. The group’s schedule already included a number of festival appearances including spots at All Good, Forecastle, Camp Bisco and Hoxeyville. For a taste of what you can expect, be sure to check out the band’s recent release Live: Toronto 7.16.2009.
Here’s the full list of New Deal tour dates…
Thurs/Jun-3 -New Haven, CT – Toad’s Place
Fri/Jun- 4 – West Warwick, RI– Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel
Sat/Jun-5 – Baltimore, MD – Starscape
Thu/Jun-24 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl
Fri/Jun-25 – Boston, MA – The Middle East
Sat/Jun-26 – Philadelphia, PA – The Electric Factory
Thu/Jul-8 -Masontown, WV – All Good Music Festival
Fri/Jul-9 – Louisville, KY – Forecastle Festival
Sat/Jul-10- Patchogue, NY–Great South Bay Music Festival
Fri/Jul-16 – Mariaville, NY – Camp Bisco
Fri/Aug 20 – Wellston, MI – Hoxeyville Music Festival
Sat/Aug 21 – Chicago, IL – Metro
Thu / Nov 11 – Live Oak, FL – Bear Creek Festival