Healing of the Nation

Solution for Dreamers Benefit Concert, presented by Heal the
Ocean. At the Arlington Theatre, Saturday, February 24.

Reviewed by Ethan Stewart

Solutions_for_Dreamers.jpgThe Arlington Theatre felt like the
backyard barbeque to end all barbeques Saturday evening. Youthful
and grinning, a capacity crowd of ocean-friendly individuals turned
out for the day- and night-long Heal the Ocean benefit concert,
swimming in a sea of like-minded people and digging on nearly six
hours of ass-shaking good music. Familiar faces, long-lost lovers,
and brave new strangers stuffed the aisles and filled the bar,
surfing a hopeful wave of commonality as massive jellyfish and
glowing tiki masks danced through the air.

And then there were the bands. From Culver City Dub Collective
and Matthew McAvene on through Animal Liberation Orchestra and
Spearhead, the lineup was a non-stop flight toward feel-good groove
deliverance with sparkling hints of its final destination hidden
along the way.

Any notion that the set-list driven format that all too often
plagues benefit shows would befall the event was destroyed almost
immediately. The artists knew each other well and took full
advantage of their friendships, frequently crashing one another’s
performances with their instruments in hand. Zach Gill from ALO sat
in with McAvene, Culver City Dub Collective was joined by Money
Mark of Beastie Boys fame, the not-so-retired Jack Johnson showed
up and played with everybody, and a kid from the crowd answered a
call from Michael Franti and subsequently brought the house down
with an impressive version of Sublime’s “What I Got.” And
then — knowing full well the beauty that is artistic
collaboration — Tyler Tomblin took things to whole a new level when
he gracefully defied gravity, “worming” his way across the
landscape of an ALO and Jack Johnson collaboration.

It was community at its finest with nary a naysayer or
testosterone-charged security drone. Well past the scheduled 11:30
p.m. curfew, the Kesien smoke was still on the rise as Spearhead
delivered a downright rock ’n’ roll centric set to close out the

And faith was restored as State Street was once again — at least
for one night — a place for people to make a stand against the
forces of homogeny, and blissfully smile and dance in the name of a
greater good.


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