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Concert review: Matt Vickers benefit at the Where House

Jack Thunder & the Road Soda

Friday, May 9

The Where House

2510 Hemphill St., Fort Worth

wherehousefortworth.com

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Posted 12:15pm on Wednesday, May. 14, 2014

On March 24, Dallas-Fort Worth concert promoter Matt Vickers was severely injured in an auto accident when he was ejected from his vehicle. Initially, the prognosis was not good.

“The fourth day after the accident,” said Matt’s mother, Carla Vickers, “the prognosis was ‘Mrs. Vickers, Mr. Vickers, you have to decide what kind of quality of life you want for your son’ — which was probably the worst day of my life.”

But Matt is a fighter, and after weeks of immobility and numerous surgeries he is now in physical therapy, able to eat solid food and even speak to family, friends and caretakers.

But all the surgeries and therapies are taking a toll on the family financially, so on Friday a benefit concert was held at the Where House on Hemphill Street. The DFW music community takes care of its own.

When I arrived, Tidals were setting up for their electronic music set, created by Joshua Wrinkle and Jeremy Lantz using various devices.

Tidals bills itself on the band’s Facebook page as “future punk,” and I don’t see that at all. They are electronic, experimental and very good at it. But there isn’t really anything punk about this, future or otherwise.

No matter, Tidal delivers something sonically worthwhile, with ambient spacy tones and recorded spoken word. By any name, I enjoyed it greatly.

While the next band was setting up, I took a moment to wander around the building. The Where House is a multifaceted space, featuring a main room with a stage, a lounge area with a pool table, and two semi-outdoor courtyard areas. People were milling about; many were there to help their friend, while some were there to support their favorite bands, who in turn were there to support Matt. People lined up to sign a guitar to be given to Matt. A raffle was held, with prize donations from businesses such as Gold-n-Pawn in Weatherford (Epiphone guitar), Doc’s Records, Chadra Mezza & Grill, Itsee Trading Co., Lo-Life Recordings, and Dreamy Soundz.

Up next we had Jack Thunder and the Road Soda, a duo consisting of Preston Newberry (guitar, vocals) and Todd Klepacki (guitar, drums, vocals).

Trying to peg these guys into a genre is tricky. Klepacki plays bass drum and snare with kick pedals, and sings through a harmonica mike while playing guitar, giving us a distorted, gravelly sound. Newberry climbed onstage with bells around his ankles and some sort of rubber animal head (bear, wolf, mongoose — who knows?) and sang through a bullhorn attached precariously to a microphone stand.

The sound was distorted, angry and caustic, yet somehow musical. We certainly found the punk that was missing from Tidals; the music had touches of surf punk (I heard Dick Dale’s Misirlou in there), but most of all it was creative and punk as hell. I loved every minute of it.

Toward the end of the set, Newberry set the bullhorn-on-a-stick out on the edge of the stage for the audience to sing into, then just handed his guitar to a random audience member and walked off stage. The guitar was passed around until it was finally reclaimed by Newberry to finish out the song.

When I left, there were people still arriving, and bands still set to play. Our community has shown time and again that it will extend a hand when needed.

If you couldn’t make the party (or even if you did) and still want to make a donation toward Matt Vickers’ recovery, visit crowdtilt.com/campaigns/official-matt-vickers-benefit-fund. Nearly $3,500 has been raised, but that’s just a drop in the bucket of what it is going to take to get Matt back out there promoting shows.

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