Dusty 45s for the Homeless

A week ago Friday I went out to see the Dusty 45s again! New Year’s Eve wasn’t enough. This time they were rocking the Triple Door for a two show benefit for DESC (the Downtown Emergency Service Center), an organization that helps the homeless.

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 I went to the second show and missed all the dignitaries like Congressman Jim McDermott and Senator Maria Cantwell who were at the first show. Photos of them are currently on the DESC site’s Gimme Shelter 2010 thank you page. As the DESC article on the event points out, this was one night after the annual One Night Count, which identified over 2,700 people living outdoors in King County. See the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness for more information:

http://www.homelessinfo.org/one_night_count/

There was another band that sounded pretty good playing the Triple Door’s Musicquarium Lounge as a approached the ticket counter to ask about will call. They were also playing pretty loud, which led to pantomime to find out how to get to the check in for my tickets. I had a little time to wait after that before they let people in to the main stage area, and got to listen in the lounge a little while and check out the groovy fish in their huge aquarium.

I was surprisingly close to the stage, given I had waited until nearly the last minute to buy a ticket, given the state of my own finances. This was my first time at the Triple Door, and I liked it, even though it’s a bit too classy for me at the moment and I found that a little intimidating.  I ordered a ginger martini, which was very delicious and took me the whole night to finish, saving me from feeling guilty about not ordering anything else the whole night. It was strong, I would not want to try it if I had one hour instead of four to drink it. . .

What can I say, I’m getting adventurous these days now that I can’t have beer because of the fizz and my health problem. I could have had wine, but the prices for some of their glasses scared me.  What if I accidentally order the wrong thing and it’s more than I have in the bank?

Also while I was waiting I met a friend of The Dusty 45s’ lead singer Billy Joe Huels, who had volunteered with him building a community center in Peru (and hadn’t heard the whole band live yet – he was in for a treat!).

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First up was Chuckanut Drive, a band from Bellingham, named after a road in Bellingham. I really liked their sound. They wrote and played some good Americana, many of the songs about live in Bellingham.

Here’s their video for Ain’t Much Action:

Check out more of their music at:

http://www.chuckanutdrive.net/

http://www.myspace.com/chuckanutdriveband

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Then it was time for The Dusty 45s! A little more of the Seattle crowd that takes a bit of prodding to get going than New Year’s Eve. Maybe due to the seating. Maybe all the energy was at the early show (which those in the know about McDermott and Cantwell being there probably went to). The bands were going, anyways though!

Someone caught some video of the first show, so while they didn’t play 32 Quarters during our set, it’ll give you an idea of their energy level. It’s also one of their original songs, and seems both appropriate and inappropriate at the same time. I love that they played it when the big shots were there.

No matter what you think about giving pan handlers money when you think they’re going to spend it on alcohol or drugs, there’s also the issue of not seeing their humanity as we walk on by.

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In introducing the speaker from DESC, Billy Joe did the one thing that could get me to donate money, as close to broke as I was – he spoke from the heart. He also hit a little closer to home than I want to talk about here.

DESC is an organization that helps homeless people with some of the toughest problems – mental illness, chemically dependent, elderly, physically and developmentally disabled and the medically compromised. It’s sad how many cracks we have for people to fall through in our society; and good that we have organizations like DESC trying to take that all on.

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Even with this “Seattle crowd” The Dusty 45s did get people up dancing. They also called the pedal steel player from Chuckanut Drive out to play a couple songs with them, too.

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Of course, there was the finale where Billy Joe set his trumpet ablaze. Here’s video on YouTube posted from the first show (wonder if McDermott and Cantwell were still around for it. . .):

I filled out my donation envelope (had to use my credit card, but even that’s near the top), dropped it off and managed to catch the last bus to the U District out of the bus tunnel.

Great show, great cause!

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