Let no one suggest that musicians don’t care about the damaged state of the union. Turns out, you don’t need to disturb the peace or write savage punk songs to rebel; instead, bands and artists have quietly channeled funds toward non-profits that aid those oppressed and under fire. Nationally, we’ve seen compilations aplenty to support crucial orgs like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union. Indeed, everyone on Bandcamp turned out all their profits to the latter for one day back in February.
Here in Atlanta, bands and artists have rallied non-stop for the welfare of one of our most vulnerable groups, queer and trans folks. Back in January, Southern Fried Queer Pride threw its first fundraising dance party, CLUTCH. In February, RADDISH — a grassroots sustainable food drive currently focused on providing vegan lunches for homeless queer and trans youths — hosted an inclusive gig at the Arts Exchange that included bake sales and crafts vendors. This week, we’ll see not one, but TWO benefit shows to support Lost-N-Found, a shelter and thrift store that aids homeless LGBTQ youths: last night’s King of Summer punk gig with Piss Shy and Extrovert at 529, and hometown glam gang StarBenders’ Friday Night Classic at the Avondale Towne Cinema with Cutcard and Hungry Girl on — you guessed it — Fri., March 31.
Since their inception in 2011, Lost-N-Found has served over 3,500 meals, helped over 2,000 individuals through hotline calls and texts, and provided countless others with showers, career advice, hook-ups to health services, and much more. And with a new Lost-N-Found soon to open in Norcross, the volunteers and staff that run the non-profit will need tons more help and resources to keep their operation afloat.
Aaron Lecesne, the bassist of StarBenders and host of the Friday Night Classic, claims that his fundraiser isn’t spurred by any anarchist zeitgeist. “No one should be overlooked or left behind for being who they are,” he tells us via email. “We are who we are and believe everyone is entitled to the same level of empathy, compassion, and inclusion. As a society, that should be the bare minimum that we aspire to, and supporting Lost-n-Found is a step in that direction.” Yet, even he admits that his gig has a political thrust. “People don’t adopt new ideas because they were beaten or argued into doing so. Philosophers change minds and militaries change borders — but art changes hearts, and that’s what we need right now.”
As the past three months have shown, local bands and artists are already hip to Lost-N-Found’s mission. Lecesne, however, hopes that his night will compel patrons who don’t know about the shelter to come out and lend a hand. The Friday Night Classic will be a free gig — complete with complimentary tacos! — but attendees are strongly encouraged to bring donations. They’ll be taking food gift cards, hygienic goods, clothes, and, of course, cash donations. “Socks, bras, and MARTA cards are pretty high up on the list, and so is salad dressing,” Lecesne says, referring to Lost-N-Found’s online registry. “A lot of the things we ordinarily take for granted are considered luxuries by people who don’t have them.”
The Friday Night Classic goes down this Fri., March 31 at Avondale Towne Cinema. StarBenders will perform along with Cutcard and Hungry Girl. Doors open at 8 p.m. Donations strongly encouraged. All ages.