Last night’s Gig For Gaza took place in the Sugar Club, in a break from the usual style and tone of the Last Mixed Tape the following piece is a thank you to everyone who came to the show and were involved in its creation.
What began with a comment on Facebook became a reality. Over a month ago I, like many others, watched as the news began to pour in of the escalating violence taking place in Gaza. Around the same time I also watched the incredibly affecting documentary The Act of Killing following a bout of restless sleep. The brutality and barbarism in both got to me in a way I had not felt before, and for the first time in my life I was compelled to do something, anything, to help.
This is where the Facebook comment comes in. I honestly didn’t know where to begin, all I wanted to do was help anyone regardless of boarders or sides effected by this conflict. A concept that can sadly be overlooked in the political debates and chin stroking such matters attract, all too often the people get forgotten about under the weight of cold statistics. And so, after many minutes sitting at my computer I pushed “post” and put out a call to anyone I knew to do “something” to help (I had honestly no idea what).
An overwhelming amount of support came from friends, family, colleagues etc. Within a week I was sitting in Abner Brown’s Barbershop in Rathmines with the people who would make it happen. Without Dave Judge (Abner Brown’s), Paul Hayden & Ian Grant (Pickled Onion Records) and Glenn Carroll (Select Sessions) last night would not have happened at all.
The choice to donate the proceeds to the Irish Red Cross: Gaza Crisis Appeal, was an instant and obvious decision for us. The organisations tireless work providing medical care, shelter, food and clean drinking water for the people in Gaza stood for the humanitarian/non-political ethos of the night.
Following weeks of planning, and an incredible amount of generosity I would soon be sitting in the Sugar Club, Dublin watching the Minutes sound check for what, in the interim, had become known as Gig For Gaza.
We had amassed a line-up that had exceed anything I honestly thought possible. Alongside the Minutes bands such as Buffalo Sunn, Mongoose, the Eskies, Gangs and Youth Mass, our host Paul McLoone and after-show DJ Claire Beck where now all coming together for the cause, and to say I was bowled over by their enthusiasm would be an understatement. And when the doors opened, and the crowd began to take to their seats the it was clear the same can be said of the audience.
This is where as a music reviewer by trade I step-aside. It would be an incredible conflict of interest for me to review the show for you. But I will personally say, that each and every act played an absolute blinder (told you it was a break from my usual style…) and a better cast of musicians, host and DJ would be hard to find.
With all of this taking place, between my constant running up and down the Sugar Club’s deceptively steep stairs, I had hardly the time to let what was happening sink in. It would not be until my walk home that the overwhelming kindness and community spirit of last night would truly come into focus.
At the core of the entire event, sitting in the red semi-circle seats and standing at the back where an audience whose very presence at the show would help people half way across the world.
It was during that short walk home, ears ringing from the Minutes ferocious finale, that I decided I would write this personal (and possibly too long, as I look at it now) article.
The Gig For Gaza was a joint effort in every sense of the term between the performers, my fellow organisers, the Irish Red Cross, Oakburn Design, the Sugar Club & staff, sound engineers, everyone who helped spread the word, those who helped set-up the show and the audience.
That was the point of it all, a group of people in a room doing what ever they could to help people in need. That is what Gig For Gaza was about, and for me that’s what made it such a success.
Thank you to every single person who came and supported the night, Stephen White.
UPDATE: We are very pleased to announce that €1687 has been raised and donated to the Irish Red Cross: Gaza Crisis Appeal.
You can check out all of the photos taken by Abigail Denniston here.
Normal service will resume on the Last Mixed Tape tomorrow.