The fourth annual amplified awareness show returned to the Alrosa Villa Saturday, Feb. 20th bringing Columbus together to support two great causes. Since its inception the event has worked hard providing a platform for musicians to play for Autism and TS (Tourette Syndrome) awareness. Make it Fit Foundation founder Mike Hoover has worked tirelessly to gain sponsors, supporters and bring the crowd every year. The event was also MC Sue Leighton’s Columbus swansong as she announced she was moving out of state to pursue new opportunities.
The event held during Columbus Easyriders Bike Show weekend this year was brought together by The Flickinger Legal Group along with long time Make It Fit event contributors Thunder Roads Ohio, C&A Harley Davidson and Kixson Creative. This year the stage was rocked by Perfectly Damaged, The Scotty Bratcher Band and the annual dedicated headliner Jasmine Cain.
After Hoover and Leighton introduced the show the stage was ready for a Mansfield Perfectly Damaged party. Singer Matt Pagani began with a moving rendition of the National Anthem. The show started with the county road rebellious Skynyrd meets Alice in Chains gospel with the good man, bad man of a “Thing Called Life.” “Counselor” was grungy in all the right spots with a country boy’s flair for rock n roll, dedicated to Pagani’s recently enlisted son. John Kildow stepped on stage a few times lending death metal growls to a few songs.
A “Wicked Game” was played, as the song was never sung that way. “Falling Apart” was a slow number about taking the good with the bad in relationships with significant others and other friends. “Militia Man” was for the families and friends of deployed soldiers banging out a heavier, meaner sound to the enemy’s fate, uplifting the story’s armed warriors. No heartfelt rock show was complete without a slow melodic song about love to bring out lighters and cellphones to capture. With a taste of Simple Man and Freebird, cue the “Hillbilly Love Song.”
Dedicated to all the VIP’s and the people sitting down, it was time to get up, boogie, dance, jam and “Rise.” The slow melancholy mood of “Art of Body” summoned Tool’s depth of feel. Pagani laughed introducing another melodious relationship song about the “Power Within.” They finished strong bringing out the rebel for some vital Idol. They pulled off a good show going on day two without sleep or the help of artificial or natural stimulants. All for friends and loved ones affected by autism and TS.
Next up was Ohio’s own, Middletown grown blues with bravado playing savant Scotty Bratcher honoring the music of the ’70s, with his own rock, jam, improve style. Dressed in the country spirit of Ronnie Van Zant sporting the headgear of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bratcher played the part of a maestro shaman, weaving fingers on the strings. Like a faith healer with a guitar, drawing the emotion and hard days work out of every note turning regular songs into hybrid-performances. If Dimebag had played the blues, Bratcher surely channeled him that night.
Working the guitar neck like a complex math problem, showing work with notes he cast out the personal real life demons that inspired many a blues pioneer to play. He’s been doing it 12 years and Columbus keeps showing up, so he keeps coming back. “Ain’t no way I’m coming Home” started up those organ revival hymns, embracing the vagabond life. A loner’s life is celebrated as the notes yelled out selected trust from “Disappointing Ourselves.” “Back Home to You” got a little more, raw and musically emotional. “Worry me no More” turned up the sound and octane sliding hands up and down earning those hard man working blues.
They got up close and intimate on “Still wanna be your Man” telling it like it is, pulling the funk out of the James Gang on “#49”slow and easy, dissecting the notes, turning the tune into an extended celebration. Can’t have a ’70s celebration without feeling the Hammer of the Gods with Bratcher turning the funk into an extended Zeppelin medley pulling pages from Jimmy’s playbook.
In an emotional presentation Hoover presented Leighton with a plaque of accomplishment for her hard work and dedication to the Amplified Awareness shows and her contributions to the Columbus scene.
The hard-running gypsy road queen from Sturgis sporting a wild child hairdo in the vein of Jane Child (minus the nose ring and chain) hit the Alrosa stage for show number four making everyone go extra, extra, extra f-n crazy from the get go with “Bark at the Moon.” She went loco for Buck Cherry and their “Crazy Bitch” with her Mohawk peacock hair flying Wendy O. Williams speed. The Ozzman cameth again on “Crazy Train,” and a trip back to early ’90s Skid Row brought out some “Monkey Business.” From the Sons of Anarchy came the original “Highway Prophet” featuring guest vocals from event contributors Denise and Jon Clevenger’s son Nolan along with some new “White Noise.” Guitarist Benjamin Johnson ignited the strings on a solo combining Zakk Wylde and Pink Floyd with the Star Spangled Banner. The highway prophet partied with the Motor City Madman on “Stranglehold.” Several shots into the set they were far from “Sober” but cranked out some Tool anyway.
The immortal legacy of Lemmy continued with “Ace of Spades” and “Rock out.” “Welcome to the Jungle” reminded us that ‘the bands’ back together, sort of….for the most part. Metallica brought the “Fuel” that wasn’t consumed on stage and Zombie brought the fumes on “Thunderkiss” with Megadeth providing the symphony. Zach Ballard laid down the hammer beats on a brutal drum solo akin to Bonham.
Kramer guitarist Kevin Deboot came out to rock a few numbers with the gang, giving Cain a break from the strings to work the crowd a little closer. They got down with Monster Magnet’s “Space Lord” then brought out the “Superbeast.” Original “Hole” preceded the “Bodies” and one more White Hot original on “Any Given Sunday” ended with some rage on “Killing in the Name Of.”
Images by Mike Ritchie