Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chicago bands team up for clothing drive


While no one would mistake The Bright White frontman Matthew Kayser for being Santa Claus, he is trying to do his part for making this holiday season a little brighter for those who are economically disadvantaged.

For the second year, Kayser is organizing "Warm, Safe and Sound," a concert and clothing drive that will be held Dec. 20 at Schubas Tavern, 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. The concert will feature Chicago band The Bright White along with several other acts, including Panda Riot, The Second, Panther Style and Adam Ashbach.

The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $8 with the donation of winter gear for the needy, available at

I had the chance to talk to Kayser about the benefit.

Q - This is the second year of the "Warm, Safe and Sound" benefit. How successful was it last year? What made you want to put it together?

I was inspired to do this type of show a few years ago when I lived in New York City. Homelessness and poverty are also rampant there, and their potential risks are made even more obvious during the harsh winter months. 

We'd all love to provide shelter for those who need it, but that's not always possible. We do, however, have other excesses. 

Everyone I know has more than enough clothing, so giving some of it away is a practical solution to the problem. After moving here, I decided to do a Chicago version of Warm, Safe and Sound, and was fortunate enough to find several people who supported the concept. 

Last year's show was very successful. We gathered close to 200 clothing items that helped dozens of our fellow Chicagoans. We hope to do even better this year.

Q - How did the other bands come aboard? Did you handpick them or did they want to get involved anyway? That says a lot about the local music scene that so many bands would want to get involved in this benefit.

Since it's still a new event, this year's bands did not know about it until I approached them. But their response was overwhelming. 

Their enthusiasm and willingness to participate is quite inspiring. It does say a lot about the Chicago scene that I had to turn down several of the bands I originally invited because the response was so positive. 

I had a number of bands in mind who would help make Warm, Safe and Sound an amazing bill, and was lucky to have all of them join the lineup. I could probably put together another show with all the bands that expressed an interest.

Q - I understand this will be the band's last show for a while. What will you guys be doing while the band is taking a break?

The Bright White will be waiting a few months to do our next Chicago show, but we hardly view it as time off. We have shows lined up in Nashville, Indianapolis and throughout the region as part of our plan to build a buzz in the Midwest. 

We think it's wiser to not over saturate our home market here in Chicago, so we are going to perform here every three months or so. In addition to performing regional shows, we'll continue to write and release new music and build our online presence. 

We're genuinely excited about what 2013 has in store for us and the Chicago music scene.

Q - It's been a busy year for the band. Do you think the band accomplished all it wanted to this year?

This year has been very productive for us. We achieved the two biggest goals we had, which were to write, record and release an entirely new EP and introduce ourselves to new markets. 

We released our second EP, "Lose Yourself," a few months ago and performed well-received shows in Nashville, St. Louis, Cleveland, and other cities. 

The goal now is to build on that momentum while playing important and smart shows here in Chicago. Warm, Safe and Sound is definitely the type of meaningful show we want to play in our hometown.