"Elevation" from recent demos
"Overdrive Lady" from recent demos
In an unexpectedly ambitious turn, Leslie recently announced a five-day music series at the Village Tavern called "Move for a Change." Featuring a roomful of cool local bands and musicians, the all-ages residency is totally free of charge and aimed at promoting fellowship and charity. Initially inspired by the urge to put a big roster of colleagues together for a spring concert, this week's series quickly evolved into a massive fund-raiser.
Lead singer/guitarist Sadler Vaden, drummer Jonathan Carmen, and bassist Jason Fox headline each evening with different openers every night. "Move for a Change" kicked off on Tues. April 8 with live sets from All Get Out and special guest singer/guitarist Joel Hamilton (of local band The Working Title) and continues nightly through Sat. April 12.
"We've been wanting to put on some sort of outdoor gig or special event for a long time — something where we could involve a lot of our friends from different bands," says Vaden.
Different charities will be featured each night. While there's no cover charge, the band are handling a raffle each night for a variety of prizes. Each member of Leslie ventured out to local coffee shops, restaurants, salons, clothing stores, and music shops, and asked for donations for items and gift certificates for use as prizes.
"We went to places like Allure Salon, 52.5 Records, Urban Outfitters, Jestine's Kitchen ... you know, the really good independent places around Charleston," Vaden says. "We're doing drink specials, where a portion of the sales will go to the charities. And we'll have a Fender Squire guitar signed by John Mayer.
"The concept of this show came together a few months ago, building off the success of last year's Scarlet Vaden Memorial Concert at The Music Farm, which benefitted Sadler and his sister, Lauren, immediately after the passing of their mother from her battle with breast cancer," says band manager Josh Terry (Aware Records/A-Squared Management). "Leslie decided this year they wanted to do a similar concept in a smaller location and at the room that gave them their first few breaks in Charleston, the Village Tavern, and instead of just doing one night, blow it up and do five nights in a row, and really try to make a difference for these charities."
On Wed. April 9, Leslie welcomes local songwriter, singer, and guitarist Lindsay Holler and her band, The Dirty Kids (Ben Wells, Nick Jenkins, Michael Hanf, Dave Linaburg, and others) and local duo Crowfield. Proceeds and canned non-perishable food items benefit the Lowcountry Food Bank.
The College of Charleston's Student Government is sponsoring a blood drive for The Red Cross earlier in the day at the Stern Student Center from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. All three members of Leslie will be there to donate (hopefully, they'll load up on enough fruit juice to perform at top-speed later in the evening).
"Their goal is to have 85 donations in the five-hour window," says Terry. "We'll also be passing out flyers and stuff to promote all of the shows that week."
Billed as an "all-acoustic night," local songwriter Steve Fiore shares the stage with the Leslie guys and songster Owen Beverly on Thurs. April 10. Fiore is a busy collaborator and solo performer, splitting his time among his own group The Good People, Run Dan Run, and other melodically minded pop acts. Beverly spent time writing and playing music in Charleston before returning home to Mississippi two years ago. He toured with members of The Working Title, Jump, Slow Runner, and Plane Jane before recording his latest full-length, Shooting the Bull. Songwriter Jay Clifford (formerly of popular Charleston pop/rock act Jump) was initially scheduled to perform as well, but was called in to play guitar on the new Howie Day album. Proceeds from Thursday's event benefit the American Red Cross.
On Fri. April 11, acclaimed singer/songwriter and sweet-talkin' gal Cary Ann Hearst and her melodic, countrified band The Gun Street Girls (Lee Barbour, Gerald Gregory, Michael Trent, Jack Burg, and guests) perform classic and new material, while up-and-coming local indie-rock Firework Show fill the bill. Proceeds from this evening's gig benefit the Lowcountry Environmental Education Project.
The grand finale on Sat. April 12 features Leslie alongside longtime buds Red Handed and Action City Blackout. After an up-and-down year of dealing with record label tangles, recording with local engineer Eric Bass, waiting, gigging, waiting ... and waiting some more, Red Handed guys Scott Gould, Drew Reindollar, Matthew Reindollar, and Kenny Varner are anxious to blast it on stage. With singer Emily Richards currently residing in New York, rock quintet Action City Blackout — Richards, Collin Debruhl, Josh Martin, James Morgan, and City Paper columnist Jack Hunter — only occasionally get the chance to rock out in town. Expect a slew of guitar riffs almost as heavy as those of Leslie. Funds raised at this event benefit Pet Helpers.
"We didn't have a lot of time or money, but this series came together very easily," says Vaden. "It's not costing us anything to perform in town. It's cool. We get to play a lot of new material, have a good time, and raise money for people who need it."