At the Mercury Lounge last Tuesday, we tried to get a hold of one of the bands that would later take the stage (Max Power, Stone Hedge and the Fry Daddys in that order) at Wall Street Rocks, a nonprofit battle of the bands that brings employees from the financial, technology, and entertainment industries together to raise funds for charities that support America soldiers and first responders, but we were told that they “were probably drinking somewhere.” So we chatted up James Macedonio, one of the six founding members of the organization.
“You would be amazed by how many people who work in finance turn in their keyboards from the offices for guitars and basses once they get home to their families,” he told us. “The thing is, you wouldn’t know if you were sitting across from a Morgan Stanley or a rocker.”
As Max Power took the stage and began to sing Sublime’s “Love Is What I Got,” we could never have guessed that the musical entourage works for IPC Information Systems.
It was easy to believe the second band consisted of financial types; their name, Stone Hedge, was a dead giveaway. They stormed the stage with AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long,” followed by two original songs. They left the stage sweating after another AC/DC song, “Girls Got Rhythm,” a song that sparked someone to try to start some moshing. But after a quick burst of energy to the front of the crowd, they realized it just wasn’t going to happen.
The Fry Daddys were composed of RBS, UBS, and BNP Paribas employees. Starting with “Sympathy for the Devil” by Rolling Stones and then songs by Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen.
Tuesday’s competition was merely the beginning. It was the first of four rounds, the next three of which are being filmed for what a co-founder of Wall Street Rocks, Leslie Kirby, hopes will be a TV show. “This is the grass roots of us doing a real talent show that we could sell ultimately to reality TV,” Ms. Kirby explained. At the final show in December, a big name guest band will be playing as the follow-up act to the winning Wall Street Rocks group, but Ms. Kirby would not reveal who.
“I want to set up a whole entertainment business for nonprofit, and then give it all away,” Ms. Kirby said. “We want to find talent, hold fundraisers and give money to the charities who really deserve it. That is the goal.” Wall Street is the focus this year, but next year the group plans to expand. “We are looking at talent in the military and we are going to do two live concerts.”
The audience contained several characters, in addition to the suits. Clad in black leather gloves with large chrome stalagmites sticking out from the back of her hands, rocker Madame Mayhem, was seen posing in front a poster for the event. Madame Mayhem will be a guest performer at the next round of the competition in August.
We got the chance to speak with Max Power, who revealed that their nighttime rocker lifestyles often emerge during the daytime. “It’s tough to hide that rocker side of us. It will just come out,” the band members explained.
In the end, it was later announced that Stone Hedge took the night and has the chance at winning the whole shebang later this year.
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