This past Saturday night, Revolution Hall lent itself to charity and hosted Songs for Freedom, a benefit for the abolition of child sex slavery. The concert featured Basement Band, a Brooklyn folk-rock group, and local folk musician Sean Rowe. While the turnout was less than ideal, the concert hall was sparsely littered with attendees lucky enough to see a pretty decent show for only $10, and simultaneously help out a charity.
Sean Rowe opened the show, braving the stage alone with nothing but a guitar and a microphone. Luckily, he had more than enough talent to command the crowd without the help of a band. Prone to mournful, mildly-tortured lyrics and a mellow sound, Rowe serenaded the crowd with his excellent deep voice and expert guitar skills. His Johnny Cash-inspired sound induced a soulful melancholy in the crowd, the haunting sounds the perfect accompaniment to low lights, good friends, and delicious Brown’s beer.
Basement Band followed up Rowe as the second act. The five-person band added a bit of spice to a classic folk sound, rock-n-rolling it up for the crowd. However, the band still had a low, mellow energy and a Bob Dylan feel to them. Basement Band held their own, but weren’t anything special, with adequate harmonies and a set-list of songs that mostly sounded the same. The band also reacted unnecessarily negatively toward a few sound problems the Revolution Hall staff seemed to be having, but maybe the band was just having an off night. The small crowd started to thin out as the show lost energy; there is a fine line between mellow and asleep.
All proceeds from the show went directly to Love146, an organization dedicated to combating the child sex trade through prevention and aftercare programs. The organization sets up and runs safe houses for children liberated from the sex trade by other charities. They also organize toolkits, training, and events that help educate and thus prevent child sex trafficking. Love146’s mission is to meet a great need and confront a horrible industry: UNICEF estimates that one to two million children are trafficked annually for the purpose of forced labor or sexual exploitation, not only abroad, but also in the United States.
Despite the urgency of the cause, Love146 was not pushy or abrasive in their fundraising. The benefit concert concentrated mainly on the music, with only a brief video between acts and an ending announcement to promote Love146. A table was set up in the lobby along with the artist’s merchandise booths for concert-goers to discuss and question the issues surrounding the child sex-trafficking industry and the efforts to stop it. Overall, the concert was a perfect way to enjoy an evening and accomplish something positive. After all, love and music have always gone hand in hand.