Any music lover in Carrboro has probably, at one time or another, consumed a pizza that was prepared or delivered by a member of one of their favorite bands. You can’t swing a guitar strap in a Carrboro restaurant without hitting a rock musician working there.
The number of local rockers working at Amante Gourmet Pizza in Carrboro is impressive, and that’s how the “Concert for Tomorrow: A Benefit for the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service” on August 10 at The Cat’s Cradle came to be.
Show organizer Carlos de Mattos of Amante Pizza says that his original idea was to put on a show that featured bands with members that either work or have worked for Amante – to “just let them shine, you know?”
He talked to his 300 Main Street neighbors at Cat’s Cradle about it, and soon the concept broadened to include bands featuring employees of the Cradle, as well as Amante’s other neighboring business brimming with musical talent, The ArtsCenter.
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De Mattos says that Cradle owner Frank Heath liked the idea, and once he started talking to de Mattos’ wife and fellow Amante worker, Andi, about it, the show became a charitable event for a cause that’s sure to bring even more people through the door.
“They decided to make it a benefit for the homeless shelter,” de Mattos said. “We’ve got four bands (with members) from Amante, and one from the Cat’s Cradle, and one from The ArtsCenter. So we’ve got all this talent, not only just in Carrboro, but right there at 300 East Main Street in Carrboro.”
Like a well-planned pizza menu, the lineup has something for everybody. The Rogue Band of Youth, a folk band representing The ArtsCenter, has been on the road recently to support a self-titled LP, described by one reviewer as “somewhere between Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear.”
Gross Ghost, whose lead singer Mike Dillon earns a paycheck from Cat’s Cradle, is well-known inside and outside the Triangle for two well-received fuzz-rock recordings, Brer Rabbit and Public Housing.
“We’re excited to help the IFC center for sure,” Dillon said. “And Frank (Heath) has always been a big champion for using the Cradle as a platform to raise awareness, to get money for (a cause). I really appreciate that.”
The musical acts featuring Amante employees – past and present – include Haw River Strings, which also has former Squirrel Nut Zippers member Don Raleigh; beloved Chapel Hill guitarist Anthony Lener; swampy rhythm & blues band Johnny Staxx and the Durty Boyz; and two very different bands that share one rock-for-lifer between them.
Sonar Strange, who works at Amante, is well-known by any local music fan whose memories of the Cat’s Cradle go back to when it was located on Rosemary Street, where Nightlight is now.
Her big voice and commensurate stage presence helped make her old band Safehouse a favorite with club-goers back in the 80s, and she’s much busier as a musician nearly three decades later.
Two of her three current bands, Twilighter and The Fontanelles, are on the “Concert for Tomorrow” bill.
It’s the debut performance for hard rockers The Fontanelles, whose members include three-fourths of the 90s band Marsha (Matt Paul, Norm Underwood and Jeff Umbarger) plus Strange on vocals.
Strange says she’s eager to check out some of the other bands she hasn’t seen yet. Checking out other bands may be one of the best aspects of the show for all the musicians involved.
“I’ve never seen the Haw River String guys,” Strange said. “One of my co-workers, Brian (Wallen) is in that with Don Raleigh, who’s also a great musician. Johnny Staxx and the Durty Boyz are always fun. They’re just, sort of like, garage rock.”
Paul, Fontanelles guitarist, says he’s glad that the band’s first show is this particular benefit.
“You know, none of us are doing it to make any money,” Paul said of his band. “So I think it’s just as well that (the show) is going to help people.”