Tom Petty Tribute to Benefit Levine’s Children’s Hospital
Tom Petty Tribute to Benefit Levine’s Children’s Hospital
Photographer & Writer: Keely Caulder
Friday night, the Charlotte music community came together for the 10th time to Benefit Levine’s Children’s Hospital. This time, the organization put together a tribute to Tom Petty. The event was organized by one of Charlotte’s most underrated musicians, Justin Fedor, of the local bands, Ancient Cities, and The New Familiars. Having raised nearly $40,000 over the last four years, Fedor’s past benefits have paid tribute to the Doors, Lou Reed, music of New York City, the 90’s, the 70’s, and more. Friday night showcased nine of Charlotte’s finest artists and bands. The event was held at NODA’s Neighborhood Theatre, where fans and music lovers came together to jam out to Tom Petty covers for a good cause.
The first act of the night was Mount Pleasant’s Late Night Special. They kicked off the evening as the crowd filled in with their own effortless folk rock spin on Petty’s hits.
Late Night Special’s set consisted of Petty’s timeless “Breakdown” and “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” in which they invited lead singer of Vermillion, Maya Atkins, to the stage to play the role of Stevie Nicks.
With each band playing three to four songs each, it made the night enjoyable and captivating with a new artist hitting the stage nearly every 10-15 minutes.
Next up was Charlotte’s own, gogoPilot singing “It’s Good to Be King.” The band had Jason Atkins fill in on bass keys, as the weather had prevented their player from making it to the show. In between songs, they wished a young boy in the theatre a happy birthday as the crowd cheered. Without the full band, gogoPilot still gave it their all and had the crowd grooving along and wanting more by the end of their set.
The third artist of the night was singer/songwriter Ross Adams. After breaking the ice and warming up to the crowd joking by about his country accent, Adams proceeded to play his own country-alt twist of “Roll Another Joint.”
Fans of Tom Petty and music lovers of all ages attended the tribute. The crowd spanned from parents who were bringing their kids to their first concert, to teenagers supporting their friends, to adults looking for something fun to do on a Friday night, and I even met some grandparents who were there with their grandchildren. In between acts, the music didn’t stop. Concert go-ers were invited onstage to sing karaoke. Although none of them were any Whitney Houston or Frank Sinatra, they gave the crowd a good laugh and helped to pass time in between acts.
After Ross Adams was Ancient Cities. Having recently opened up for pop-rock band, Walk the Moon, at The Fillmore, Ancient Cities once again brought the party. They did an excellent job singing “Walls” – one of my favorites from the night. Their sound reminded me a bit of the rock band Black Keys at times. It was obvious that a majority of the crowd was there for Ancient Cities, as their bass player, Justin Fedor, organized the entire event.
By their performance, I could tell that Ancient Cities is a band that truly loves what they do. Attending concerts is always enjoyable, but to attend one when the artist/band is having just as much fun as you are, is even better – and Ancient Cities was doing exactly that. Ancient Cities is a band with a good heart and rad music that you definitely do not want to sleep on.
The 5th act of the night was a talented young rock band called Vermillion. Justin Fedor spoke highly of the band while introducing them before they hit the stage.
“Folks, this is the most up-and-coming act here in Charlotte,” said Fedor. “This is ground zero for the future right here.” Fedor was definitely a man of his word. Vermillion opened up with “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” The leader singer, Maya Atkins, had a confident stage presence and danced around while shaking her blonde hair in front of the audience, singing along to one of Petty’s biggest hits, “Free Falling.” The trio was joined by Atkins’ dad who was the secret star of the show, playing keys for multiple bands throughout the night.
Following, was The Bleeps, another alt rock band from Charlotte. Many fans showed up for The Bleeps to see them shred on their guitars. In order to imagine The Bleeps, think Motley Crue meets Sublime. If you like either of these bands, The Bleeps are meant for you.
After the Bleeps was The Sammies, a rock and roll quartet who claims that their influence is “every sound that comes across our ears.” As the night advanced, I became aware that I know a lot more Tom Petty songs than I thought I did. I found myself singing along to songs that I hadn’t heard in years. Growing up as an ‘American Girl’ I guess you just can’t escape Tom Petty.
Jason Scavone was the next artist on stage. Following The Sammies, he brought a much more chill vibe to the theatre, covering “Wild Flowers.” Scavone’s voice and acoustic guitar paid the perfect tribute to Petty. “Wild Flowers” seemed to be a fan favorite of the night as Scavone got a great response from the crowd when he finished the song.
The Business People was one of the last bands of the night. They added funk to the mix of genres that were played throughout the show. The crowd had thinned out slightly and the later the night got, the more Tom Petty look-alikes showed up.
To wrap up the concert, Justin Fedor came back onstage with artists that had played throughout the night singing “Handle With Care” with the addition of John Dungan, and members from Amigo.
If you weren’t at Fedor’s tribute for Levine’s Children’s Hospital, don’t fret! He does these shows every 6 months and the next one is already in the works! If you live in the Charlotte area and love to support local music while donating for a good cause, make sure to attend Justin Fedor’s next tribute show. You won’t regret it. And if you need something to do in the meantime, make sure to check out Ancient Cities and The New Familiars.