Ghost Steppers and Silk City teamed up to help the people of Haiti.
Last Wednesday, at Silk City Diner in Northern Liberties, Ghost Steppers made their debut and gathered to play for a sold out crowd. The band charged $10 for tickets, with 100 percent of the proceeds being donated to the American Red Cross’s Haiti relief fund.
The idea for the show came from drummer Mike Greenfield, who headlined with two of his bandmates, Jesse and Luke Miller, also from Lotus, an electro-jazz-style pop band that’s split between musicians in Colorado and Philadelphia. The local three decided to form Ghost Steppers after Greenfield suggested playing a concert to raise money for a good cause.
“I was watching the news coverage of the earthquake in Haiti, and I was deeply saddened by the devastation there,” Greenfield said. “My first reaction was to simply donate some money, but I figured I could use my band to raise money to contribute more than I could individually to Haitians in need.
“Silk City was eager to host the event, [and] everyone is really excited about helping out the earthquake victims and throwing a great show.”
The other acts that played at Silk City are electronic duo Sonic Spank, dubstep/street bass DJ Sonkin and select members of Bodega and Brother’s Past, two local electro-sound groups. All were drawn to the idea of raising money for Haitian victims of the disaster and contributed their time and energy to the cause for free.
“I think there [are] a lot of people thinking, ‘What can I do?’” Jeremy Worthington, the acoustic/electronic drummer for Bodega, said. “There is a sense of helplessness. Everyone’s hearts go out to the people of Haiti, and it’s reflected in people coming together to organize events like this one.”
Mikele Edwards, a Silk City employee, handled the event, promoting it through social networking sites with only 10 days to do so.
Edwards said Silk City treated this Wednesday night show like any of its busier nights, which are typically Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
“We knew it would be busy once the advance tickets started selling quickly and when we started receiving several phone calls about the night,” Edwards said. “So many people wanted to be involved and show their support for both the musicians and the cause.”
Presale tickets were sold out days before the show, and the 50 at-the-door tickets were gone by 10 p.m. Twenty-somethings packed tight into the lounge area of the venue, pushing their ways to the bar for $2 Pabst Blue Ribbon specials and nodding their heads to the catchy beats in the fluorescent lights. Despite the large numbers in attendance, the musicians and management said they agreed the vibe was good, likely due to the positive attitudes of the people dedicated enough to the cause to come out on a cold weekday night.
The show was a success, raising almost $3,500 and a car-load of donated threads for the American Red Cross, from a clothing drive that Greenfield’s friend, Jaime Melfi, organized. While everyone who participated was pleased with the outcome, that doesn’t mean they’re finished being charitable.
“I think this is one of the only events in the recent past that [had] a lot of great Philadelphia musicians [come] together for such a cause,” Worthington said. “We would love to be a part of other benefits such as this one. There is even some talk about doing another benefit for Haiti at a larger venue.”
No matter what they end up doing in the future, these musicians have shown their humanitarian nature and dedication to a cause that has made a lasting effect on the United States, especially when statistics show that this country is needed more than ever.
“In Haiti, estimates suggest that 200,000 people have died and 1.5 million people have lost their homes,” Greenfield said. “The country is just decimated, and Haiti doesn’t have the resources to recuperate at this point. The international community has to step in to help, and I am honored to be a small part of the relief effort.
“When something like this happens,” he added, “you can’t really think about conceptual borders between ‘us’ and ‘them.’”
Rebecca Bleznak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.