Dark Was the Night. Radi City Music Hall. May 3, 2009.

Special Report from NYC!

If you haven't yet purchased the compilation Dark Was The Night, buy it now. Not only do the proceeds benefit the Red Hot Organization, an international charity dedicated to raising funds and awareness for HIV and AIDS, but it has 33 kick-ass songs from both new and old artists: like Talking Heads' David Byrne, Bon Iver, Beirut, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Feist, Cat Power, Grizzly Bear...the list goes on. The compilation and benefit concert, held at Radio City Music Hall, was put produced by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National.

OBVIOUSLY worth flying to New York for, the show featured performances in this order: The Dirty Projectors, David Byrne, My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden (the best voice I've heard in years), The National, Feist (just her and a guitar), Bon Iver (who brought Shara out to harmonize on "Flume") and finally Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings.

The finale featured the whole lot, who came out to sing a version of "This Land Is Your Land." The group huddled around one mic like it was a campfire. Some held pieces of paper with the lyrics and began a lifeless rendition of "this land is your land" until Sharon interrupted: "Hold on a minute! I like that version, but I got a new one...hit it!" It sure felt like a cheesy benefit concert at that point. It was that and the "sex advice" videos that played in between songs, showing female artists like Courtney Love and Luscious Jackson speak candidly about sex and encouraging safety even within the world of rock & roll. "If he tells you not to use a condom, you might as well use one cuz it won't be good anyway" tells Gabby Glaser of Luscious Jackson.

I definitely geeked out seeing some of my favorite musicians together, but it wasn't as great as expected. It doesn't feel right to be seated during a show like that. I felt disconnected to the performances, but glad to know music still brings people together and can raise money for a good cause.

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings

FINALE: "This Land Is Your Land" with The National, My Brightest Diamond, The Dirty Projectors, Feist, David Byrne, Bon Iver, St. Vincent.

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