Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, February 19, 2019

College bands battle for charity in Wonk N’ Roll concert series

Although many legendary bands started on college campuses, it can still be hard for college bands to find gigs.

School of Communication senior Adam Klionsky knew this all too well and decided to do something about it while also raising money for charity.

As part of his honors capstone, Klionsky organized Wonk N’ Roll, a battle of the bands concert series where college bands can play.

The first concert in the series will be held at Comet Ping Pong April 20 at 10 p.m. and will feature three AU student bands.

“There aren’t a lot of places for college bands to play as college bands,” Klionsky said. “The idea behind this was to have something for students, by students, but the charity aspect is what really made it important.”

Although he was initially planning only one event, Klionsky expanded this project into a series so he could feature more bands.

So far there are two concerts scheduled: a more folksy show April 20 and a pop-punk/ rock showcase May 25. Both battles will feature three bands and take place at Comet Ping Pong.

“My idea was to have four shows, each with its own genre,” Klionsky said. “I’m trying to stick with that theme and in the future I’d like to expand it into hip-hop and electronic. I’ve already talked to some DJs about setting something like that up.”

This weekend’s show features The Modern Nomads, Thrifty States and Port Orchards, all of which are partially or entirely made up of AU students.

“The bands for this show are mostly in the folk range,” Klionsky said. “Thrifty States are more on the rock/blues side: they’re a little heavier and more riff-driven. Port Orchards kind of dance on the countrier side of folk, and The Modern Nomads are basically like Mumford and Sons incarnate.”

The audience will be able to use their ticket to vote for their favorite band, with the proceeds from the show being donated to the winning band’s charity. Concertgoers will also be able to buy additional votes for $1, all of which will also go to the winning charity.

Klionsky asked each participating band to find their own charity to represent.

“I told the bands to find a local charity that they like, support and have a relationship with,” he said. “I’m expecting a large contingent from the charities to come and hopefully hand out literature and answer any questions.”

Thrifty States is representing Free Minds Book Club, a book club for incarcerated youth that, according to their website “uses books and creative writing to empower young inmates to transform their lives.”

The Modern Nomads will be playing for Little Lights Urban Ministries, a nonprofit Christian organization that serves the inner-city community of Southeast D.C. Little Lights hopes to help under-served youth and families “spiritually, socially and intellectually.”

Port Orchards selected N Street Village as its charity. N Street Village works to support and empower homeless and low-income women in D.C. by “offering a broad spectrum of services and advocacy in an atmosphere of dignity and respect,” according to their website.

Klionsky said he hopes to continue the series in the future, going beyond even his initial four-show plan.

“We have two dates scheduled, but I’m going to keep this going,” he said. “This is a great start, but it’s building to something that I think can be around for a long time.”

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