Above: Band members left to right: Marty McLean, Michael Loomis, Jacque Baldori, Raymond Crane, Lucas Holliday, Adrian Bryant, Eric Kloeckner. Photo: David Loomis.
Tonight, The Avenue will host a charity event to show that our local music community stands in solidarity with the people of Flint, Michigan. TELL Yo MAMA headlines the benefit, joined by special guests Speak Easy and Eddie J Don’t Play Music.
“For many in Flint, MI, the struggle for clean and safe water continues,” writes The Avenue. “Come out and support live music for a great cause. We here in Lansing are trying to do our part to help out a neighboring community. Half of all proceeds will go to buying water for Flint residents. TELL Yo MAMA will be personally delivering water for the cause, as well as throwing in some free tuneage for these folks.”
What this show means to TELL Yo MAMA lead singer, Lucas “Luke Duke” Holliday, is standing up to “this state's administration sweeping a life-threatening situation under the rug and continue to stand by idly as more children are poisoned with impunity. The situation is unacceptable. I can honestly say if there was ever a time to sing to somebody and make them feel good, it would be now.”
For many of us not living in Flint, our attention to the water crisis began only last year. However, the crisis began in April 2014, when the city switched over their main source to the Flint River. After that, problems soon became apparent. By October 2014, the inadequately treated (and therefore highly corrosive) water forced the city’s General Motors plant to purchase their water from Lake Huron in order to avoid corroding engine parts.
Flint residents’ complaints about the taste, smell, and appearance of the water quickly turned to concerns about the safety of the water as reports and data accumulated about lead levels in the water, elevated lead levels in children, and a spike in pneumonia cases and deaths from legionella. State and federal officials did not act to address the water crisis until resident activists and scientists demonstrated the dangers to the community and the national media finally picked up the story.
“This should be in no way about us as entertainers in the spotlight,” lead singer Holliday remarks, humbled by the opportunity to perform in the name of such an important cause. “We have to use our shine to shed light on Flint's murky waters and keep people aware of corruption.”
You may recognize Holliday from a viral video of a Dollar General cashier singing his heart out to Maxwell’s “Ascension” while scanning groceries last fall. When a regular customer caught his talent on video, it spread like wildfire across the Internet until it reached Maxwell himself. Maxwell invited Holliday to perform with him at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit just over a week after the video was posted on YouTube.
While the main goal of tonight’s event at The Avenue is to raise money to buy water, attendants are also welcome to bring professionally-bottled water to donate, so long as it is unopened. Doors open at 8 p.m., with the music kicking off at 9 p.m. Bands performing tonight still have pre-sale tickets available for $8 before the show. Otherwise, admission is $10 at the door. The Avenue is located at 2021 E Michigan Avenue in Lansing.