De La Luz Benefit Shows | November-December 2003 | De La Luz @ Temple Ball | Carrboro, NC

What do Tibetan monks, a Tori Amos tribute band, and Perpetual Groove have in common? They've all recently taken the stage at the De La Luz performance space inside the Temple Ball Art Gallery in Carrboro, NC. Rick Ramirez opened the psychedelic boutique a year ago, envisioning a comfortable environment for both audiences and performers. He succeeded in creating a space of uncommon warmth, sonic clarity and good vibes. The art gallery in front sells a wide range of artifacts, craftworks, paintings and music. The back of the building hosts the performance space, where the kaleidoscopic artwork covering the walls is for sale and changes often, ensuring a uniquely-flavored blast of ambience each time you walk through the doors.

With recent troubles putting the future of the experimental emporium in jeopardy, the Carrboro/Chapel Hill art and music scene is responding with a series of six benefit shows to help keep the doors open and the music playing. The first three shows are being held across the street at ArtsCenter, a non-profit community space large enough to hold the number of fans expected to turn out to show their love and support. The music kicks off Saturday November 22nd with four bands who showcase the eclectic range of sounds De La Luz has become known for.

Local soul-rockers Hobex have been bringing smiles to the masses since lead singer Greg Humphreys' days in Dillon Fence, another Southeast favorite in the early '90s. Hobex bring their soulful throwback grooves with the full spirit of the occasion in mind. "[Rick's] a good person," says Humphreys. "I felt like he was helping to fill a niche in Chapel Hill and I want to see him keep going. We're glad to help him." Joining them is Gomachi, a young jamband from Winston-Salem who've turned enough heads to win the online contest for a sidestage slot at the Mid-Atlantic Music Experience last summer. Their sound covers a wide range, as blissful simplicities drift tangentially to more complicated compositions. Also appearing are Sun and Moon, an all-star conglomeration of Chapel Hill talent putting forth profound positivity within progressive melodic rock. "The message is so positive it drips with enlightenment," says Ramirez. The evening also features Other Nature, a local band led by singer/bassist Josh Willis, who also doubles as a Temple Ball employee.

The festivities continue on Sunday November 23rd with jamgrass jesters Barefoot Manner. Raleigh's local heroes have been on a jamband juggernaut lately, touring the country sharing their instrumental prowess and worldwise philosophies. Their danceable grooves and expansive explorations will surely attract many fleet-footed fans. "Rick has been very instrumental in the music scene," says Barefoot's percussionist Jeff Garland. "He's turned a lot of people on to a lot of good music over the years." Also on the bill are NC alternative rockers Jennyanykind and local singer/songwriter Brent Ballantyne.

The benefits continue on Wednesday December 3rd with the biggest show of the series. San Francisco guitar legend Steve Kimock is scheduled to appear with Triple Fret, a Durham outfit led by longtime friend and guitar co-conspirator Mike Babyak. Kimock first came to national attention in the '80s through his incendiary instrumental work with Zero, and was later reintroduced to a younger generation of jamfans through collaborations with The Other Ones and Phil Lesh & Friends. Keyboardist Jim Kost will also be sitting in for the show, which promises to sell out quickly, as the ArtsCenter is much smaller than most Kimock venues. "That's going to go a long way towards what we need to keep us going," says Ramirez.

The final three De La Luz benefit shows take place back on their home turf, as the infamous Chapel Hill indie rock scene comes forth to lend their support. Friday December 5th features Twilighter, Andy Herod from the Comas in a solo show debuting new material, and Permanent Darling. Saturday December 6th boasts the King Crimson-esque progressive sounds of Onomata. Mike Babyak returns with Babyak & Bo, and the bill also includes Dom Casual and Can Joann. The final benefit takes place on Friday December 12th with The Balance, J-Phono, Go Machine and DJ Marco.

De La Luz is doing everything in their power to stay alive and continue bringing art and music to Carrboro and Chapel Hill. It should be seen as a measure of the quick impact they've made on this town that so many varied and talented performers have quickly lent their support to keep it going. Many other local artists are also contributing tracks to a Live at De La Luz compilation CD that will soon be available. "The support and good vibes we're receiving from across the entire community is overwhelming and gratifying at the same time," says Ramirez. Come tap your feet for a worthy cause. Tickets are on sale now at

Paul Kerr
JamBase | North Carolina
Go See Live Music!

[Published on: 11/18/03]

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