The passion of soccer fans is the stuff of legend.
And that enthusiasm is now being channeled into support for our troops overseas.
"Hooligans For Heroes" is a benefit show, hosted this Friday in Hamtramck, featuring a handful of Ferndalian bands with big, humbled hearts.
Election Day is drawing near and soon after there's Veteran's Day. Couple that with last month's recording of U.S. troops' 2,000th Afghanistan War death - a conflict in which we are guaranteed current engagement levels through 2014 and an issue that's been barely treated in the competing campaigns of President Barak Obama and Republican Mitt Romney).
Indeed, political discourse is a predominant discussion point these days. But this is not "political" in that way. Soccer fans are not ones for soap boxes.
"We're not trying to say pro- or anti-war or anything," said local singer/songwriter Eric Abbey (of reggae-ska/punk group 1592). "These are our friends, these are people that we know who are coming back injured, with PTSD. Remember: these are people, not just numbers, not just casualties."
Abbey, who was integral in organizing this concert, said: "We tend to forget it until we can see a face. These people volunteered to put their lives on the line for us and their lives are here, their families and friends are here."
Abbey and 1592 have performed and helped organize numerous benefit shows in the past; their inclination-towards blends of Reggae roots music resonates with a North American-styled "folk" music in a sense, with both regarded as a music of the people or a voice for social causes.
It's a modest contribution, Abbey said of the "Hooligans for Heroes Benefit" show (Nov 2nd at Small's in Hamtramck), but "at least it's a start."
Can Soccer Save The World?
This starts with brothers Ken and Gene Butcher, founders of the Northern Guard Supporters (of the Detroit City Football Club) who started this grassroots non-profit organization (Hooligans for Heroes) with fellow Supporter Drew Gentry in solidarity with their friends/fellow soccer players/supporters overseas.
Through a recently started bigcartel website, this dedicated trio now offers specially designed Hooligan-themed/patriotic apparel -with 100% of donations going to support the Wounded Warriors Project, their new partner in the expansion of their "Supporter" role - going from beyond the field at Cass Tech High and 2,000 miles across the ocean to aid their brothers and sisters.
"Everything from the show is going towards Wounded Warriors," Abbey said.
Ferndale's Woodward Avenue Brewers are among the many sponsors who got behind this benefit show - featuring local Americana/soul balladeer Ryan Dillaha, who just released a 45-single on vinyl through Motor City Special, btw. Also performing: Desolation Angels and the Mike Hopper Trio.
"This all took off very easily," Abbey said of planning the event. "Everyone got behind it instantly because it's such a good cause."
"And there's all kinds of different styles here among the bands," Abbey said. "Mike Hopper Trio is kind of a psyche-rock, Desolation Angels is a bit like rockabilly punk - and Ryan's alt-country, soul-type vibe and then there's our reggae."
1592's a distinct band amid a city known for its garage/indie-rock and blues. They blend a late 90s Ska-punk snarl to the groovier sways of funk and seminal reggae/dub-step. And there's no other city/scene that they'd rather be apart of, Abbey said of Detroit's diversity in music.
The Detroit Music Award-winning collective features (Eric) Abbey- keys/lead vocals, Jeremy Abbey- sax/vocals, Steve Caldwell- guitar/vocals, Italo Cianfarani – bass/guitar/vocals, Brent Nagy - drums, along with Pete Cvetanovski, Layla Hall, King Mellowman and Nick Frank -all-drums.
Members recently cut some demos for third album, aiming to start mixing in the studio through the winter for a spring-time release.
These concerts are heartwarming for myriad reasons, Abbey concluded. No one's quibbling over petty things like who's getting paid how much by the end of the night... The music, the performances are all for the cause. Hooligans for Heroes supporting Wounded Warriors.
And it all started out of a love for soccer...
Small's Bar is hosting 1592, Desolation Angels, The Ryan Dillaha Band, and The Mike Hopper Trio as they perform to benefit the Hooligans for Heroes organization. 18+ $10 at the door with all proceeds going to the organization, doors at 8 p.m.