A musician, in any capacity, holds in their hands and their instruments a desire to make the world a better place. On stage a performer hopes the way they play and present their craft can make onlookers see something differently. When that intrinsic goal transcends out of the direct vicinity of the stage and into another cause, you get something like The Concert for Karen, a benefit concert featuring The Safes this Saturday at the Canopy Club.

Charles Lane, junior, is the brains behind the operation. Last February, after Lane’s cousin Karen Rosenthal ended a long battle with cancer and passed away, Lane wanted to do something to honor her. As a student of jazz and a performer in the local music scene, a concert seemed like the perfect thing to do.

“You want to do something to carry on someone’s memory,” Lane said, looking out on Lincoln Avenue from the front porch of his Urbana home. “I wanted to carry her memory across New York and D.C. (Karen’s hometown) to a new place.”

“The obvious charity for the concert was the American Cancer Association,” Lane said. “But Dan, Karen’s husband, wanted to do something else.”

Karen was very involved in the community, working to build community playgrounds and parks, and participated in The Women’s Alliance, the organization that will receive all proceeds from the concert.

Suited for Change, a D.C. organization affiliated with The Women’s Alliance that Karen was involved in offers career training and professional clothing for low-income women. The Bottomless Closet, the Chicago counterpart, is one of the programs that will benefit from the concert.

Lane said the choice of charity was made to “let her carry out what she wanted to do.”

“Everyone is effected by cancer … we forget that cancer never stops. Not only is the concert about raising money but also [about] being aware,” he said.

“It’s vicious, man.”

The show is about music, too. The Safes, who have been filling Chicago venues and gaining critical acclaim, are coming down to perform free of charge. A blend of power-pop and straight rock, The Safes balance hook sensibilities and rock musicianship excellently. Throughout their music, and sure to shine in a live setting, is an attitude-driven punk undertone.

Last year, the band, comprised of a trio of brothers, released their newest album Well, Well, Well independently. Compared to The Kinks and a laundry list of garage/Brit/punk acts, the O’Malley brothers seem to be on the verge of a breakthrough.

The Safe’s cousins are involved in the second act, Priebe, a rock project from some members of Champaign-Urbana’s Robots Counterfeiting Money. Where RCM is a musical meandering through metal, rock and punk, Priebe touches closer to an experimental new wave sound, similar to The Talking Heads.

Charles Lane will also be performing a solo acoustic set under the name of Woland. His EP, The Legless Table, will be for sale, with all profits benefiting The Women’s Alliance.

A nationally reputed band playing in a great local show for an even better cause – think of it as the most enjoyable way you can make the world a little bit better.

Make sure to see The Safes, Priebe and Woland as part of Concert For Karen this Saturday, Sept. 29. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the 6:30 p.m. show.

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