According to the Department of Defense Suicide Event Report for 2013, there were 1,080 suicide attempts among active duty military and 38.1% of the active duty military that committed suicide were diagnosed with anxiety disorder. In 2014, there were over 260 active duty suicides, over 400 if you include reserves and national guard. Why are we talking about military suicides on a mainly music based blog? Well, Pancakes and Whiskey had the opportunity of going to a concert Friday night that was put on by an organization called Zero Platoon. Zero Platoon’s mission, as the organization’s founder, Mike Henneberger, explains, is “to bring entertainment to the men and women serving, but most importantly we want to show them that this organization and the artists we work with care about them.”
The founder, Mike Henneberger, is a military veteran himself as well as the rest of his staff. They want to help brighten up the lives of veterans and “help those on active duty that are battling depression and other mental health issues as they struggle with the adaptation into military life.” The show they put on at Mercury lounge on Friday was definitely an inspirational one.
Matt Scottoline, from the Philadelphia-based band Hurry, opened the night with an acoustic set (his first acoustic set ever!) after being added on at the last minute by his friend, and fellow performer that night, Chris Farren. He had some witty crowd banter and played a few acoustic guitar solos – probably the first time anyone has ever seen that done – and claimed he felt like he was at an open mic where someone was playing all of his band’s songs. Definitely agree with that.
Chris Farren livened up the party after that playing what he described as “a bunch of depressing songs.” They were pretty upbeat for “depressing songs” and his pop-punk voice added passion to his performance. Farren’s brooding scream doesn’t match what fellow performer that night Dave Hause describes as Farren’s Wes Anderson movie look, but that makes for a combination that’s enticing. My favorite songs of his were, “Don’t Die in Yr Hometown” and “I Drew You Once in Art Class.” Farren brought out his friend, and Brooklyn-based pop-punk favorite, Jeff Rosenstock and they performed some of their band, Antartico Vespucci’s, songs. They ended ended Farren’s set with a bang, literally, playing their song “Bang.”
When Dave Hause came out on stage, the room went crazy so I knew I was in for a treat. Hause is like all of the members of your favorite pop-punk band rolled into one person. He’s that energetic and talented. My favorite song of his was “Time Will Tell,” which he dedicated to tour mate Rocky Voltolato after explaining that Voltolato was the reason he stopped drinking. Voltolato even came on stage and sang a bit of the song with Hause and Hause’s brother Tim.
The mood shifted from energetic, to dreamy and angry, when Rocky Voltolato took the stage. His songs were heartfelt and full of passion. He recently went through a hard time when he wasn’t sure if a career in music was working out for him and his new album, Hospital Handshakes, is full of songs he wrote to get through that tough time. It’s hard to believe he lost hope with his music career after seeing the community of his fans in the crowd and how invested they were in his music. He even has a group of three guys from Montreal who follow him to every show and even made shirts that honored his song “White Knuckles.” Voltolato’s set ended the show on a high note and created a room full of hope and appreciation for music; exactly what Zero Platoon strives to achieve.
Article: Merissa Blitz