Musicians ready to jam for a good cause – the neighborhood

Urban Soil’s Eric Chesson and Gregory Meckley will play at the Holiday Rescue Jam.Courtesy of Urban Soil

The Holiday Rescue Jam at the Pour House Music Hall in Raleigh will serve as a food and toy drive for the Raleigh Rescue Mission.

While many of us hope to have our holiday errands completed by Friday night, the area musicians behind the second annual Holiday Rescue Jam are hoping you can still make room for a concert – with a good cause behind it.

Taking place at the Pour House Music Hall in downtown Raleigh, the performances will serve as a food and toy drive for the Raleigh Rescue Mission, which is near the downtown venue. While the jam promises a rotating group of guest performers, the artists appearing at the event include the four musicians who are both spearheading the occasion and working as the night’s house band: celebrated bassist Al Al Ingram (Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band), drummer Ben Vinograd (BIG Something), and Urban Soil’s Eric Chesson and Gregory Meckley.

Chesson, the guitarist and vocalist for the Raleigh-based mainstays, said everything about the event is a reflection of the neighborhood in which it is taking place, from the players and the venue to the charity recipient of the night’s spoils. While Urban Spoil is the unofficial host of the event – the band also spearheaded last year’s efforts – the guitarist hopes moving the event from Tuesday to Friday will draw an even larger crowd than the first production of the now annual drive.

“We got a nice little haul (of donations) last year, even though it just happened to fall on a Tuesday night,” Chesson said in a phone interview. “We’re hoping to have an even bigger haul for them this year, with the show falling on a Friday night.”

“I live in the neighborhood – the Southeast corner of the downtown Raleigh district – and the Raleigh Rescue Mission is basically our neighbor,” Chesson said. “They’re just so close by, and (the event) would help those within the immediate neighborhood.”

He called the organization one of the “unsung heroes” of the community. Last year, it provided more than 156,000 meals, according to one of the Mission’s directors.

“That’s a lot of food,” Chesson said. “That’s just a stunning number. To think that they fed that many meals to people in need. They’re down there in the trenches, really doing the Lord’s work, and I think it’s pretty appropriate to try and help them out right here at Christmas and all.”

While Chesson works to get the word out on the Mission’s needs this time of year – among them, 75 hams for families struggling this holiday season – perhaps the easiest part of putting on the annual event has been finding a home for it. The singer said the Pour House staff didn’t hesitate when approached about another holiday jam session for charity.

Adam Lindstaedt, the owner and talent buyer for the venue, downplays the compliment. He said anyone in the music community with a stage and an amplifier would have happily hosted such an opportunity. He said supporting the community is part of the Pour House’s mission, which holds monthly benefits and has raised more than $20,000 to support others in need.

“I hope everyone has that little voice in the back of their head telling them to do good,” Lindstaedt said. “We do not host fundraising events like this out of obligation. We produce these events to support our neighbors and the community we care about. Supporting the local community has been a huge emphasis of ours since I took over the venue in 2012. We have partnered with several local charities and nonprofits over the years to raise funds to support their missions.”

Holiday Rescue Jam

When: 9 p.m. Dec. 22
Where: Pour House Music Hall, 224 S. Blount St., Raleigh
Cost: Canned food, unopened toy or monetary donation to benefit the Raleigh Rescue Mission
Info: ThePourHouseMusicHall.com or 919-821-1120

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