HOBOKEN, NJ—Nelson Pla is a perennial figure in the local music scene, as a composer and performer with connections to countless local bands and even a few nationally recognized groups. Three years back, Nelson became involved with the San Francisco-based Global Fund for Women, an agency that directs its efforts to improving the rights and socio-economic circumstances of women around the globe.
Around the same time, he developed a yearning to bring together a bunch of locals seeking, like him, an opportunity to perform at a recognized venue. He coupled this with a desire to pull in as many of his friends as he could to the annual celebration of his own birthday. Stephen Bailey was recruited to, among other things, host the event. Thus was born the Annual Benefit Show for the Global Fund for Women.
This year the show opened with a young and talented soloist, Nick Wager, whose bare-bones style had folksy appeal in the best sense of the term. He mesmerized the crowd with his concluding piece, a languid cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean.”
He was followed by an extraordinary, Brooklyn-based quintet called Aunt Ange that was just a shade Goth with bombastic, minor key rock pieces, some deranged honky-tonk as well as a creepy waltz, as if they were doing to music what Tim Burton does to cinema.
Clueless, Nelson’s own pet musical project, which he shares with his equally talented brother Joe, took the stage and invited supporting vocalists to rock the crowd with well-known covers ranging from The Beatles and Bowie to Stone Temple Pilots and Weezer favorites.
While all this was going on the event was being captured by Nelson’s enthusiastic photographer, Laura Dissantis, and there were countless CD and free-download cards given away that served as ample bounty to those who paid the price of admission to support the cause.
The show closed with a penny whistle accented, traditional sounding Irish rock band—about as good as any around—called Icewagon Flu.
To say this was a fun evening for performers as well as supporters would be a gross understatement. In fact, the best thing for local musicians and fans that could come out of this would be this to continue to pop-up annually.