By Jhoni Jackson
Even if it were not part of a fundraiser for a great organization, 500 Songs for Kids would still make for a memorable event. Lineups consisting entirely of covers based on a theme played by some of Atlanta’s best musicians? Count me in.
The fact that it’s for a great cause simply sweetens the deal. Since its 2007 inception, 500 Songs for Kids has been raising money to bring music to sick children in hospitals and special needs camps. Not only does the foundation organize live concerts, but also it offers the chance for kids to record their own music. Both listening and making music can be cathartic—and a lot of fun, too.
“500 Songs for Kids used to be just held at Smith’s Olde Bar,” explains local singer-songwriter Sydney Eloise, “but this year they are expanding it over five weekends at different venues. This will be the first time East Atlanta will host a 500 Songs event and I’m excited to see the turnout.”
This year marks Eloise’s fourth appearance at the event. Unlike prior years, she says, this time artists were given the opportunity to choose their own songs. She’s playing tomorrow night, along with many others, at the EARL under the theme “100 of the Great College Radio Songs of All Time.” Her pick? Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love.”
“I am all about spontaneous musical arrangements, so for this song I’m going for a more bonfire sing-along where hopefully all my friends come on stage and sing with me. It’s all about love and happiness,” she says.
Tonight’s performers include Carnivores, who’ll tackle “Dance This Mess Around” by the B-52’s, and Mood Rings, who’ve picked Blur’s “Coffee and TV.” The latter, in particular, is especially iconic. Christ, Lord’s choice is too: “Where is My Mind?” by the Pixies.
“We wanted to do a song that could let the trumpet and tuba stand out in a really rad way, and letting them go wild on that Kim Deal vocal line seemed like a really good fit. Our interpretation is all cats, Santa, goats that sound like people and sex appeal,” jokes drummer Billy Mitchell.
Also on the bill tonight is one-man-party known as Cousin Dan. He’s gone with a newer college radio tune you might know better from the Drive soundtrack: Kavinsky’s “Nightcall.”
“I chose that song because Ryan Gosling looks good with his shirt off,” says Cousin Dan.
Check out Cousin Dan, Sydney Eloise and Christ, Lord—and a slew of others, including Slim Chance and the Convicts, Book Club, Little Tybee, Cute Boots, The Head and Jungol—playing college radio covers tonight and tomorrow at the EARL. Do it for the kids!