Five dollars for five amazing local acts. The Operation Santa Benefit Show was both the deal of the year and the most perfect way to kick off winter break; furthermore, all the money raised was to buy presents for the Champaign Crisis Nursery and Parent Wonders of Rantoul. This show was not only a fun time, but also a good deed.
People started filing into the Cowboy Monkey around eight, with Isaac Arms (solo artist and member of the local band Withershins) opening the show at nine. This simple first act—one man and his guitar, was an understated and breathtaking opening. It was really impossible to tell that this was a one-man show.
Arms paved the way for the second act, The Palace Flophouse. Who was a totally incredible powerhouse, with a punkish vibe mixed with indie flair and wonderful harmonies. The amazing harmonies continued with the third act, Hathaways. This sibling-fronted band had amazing lyrical ability and harmonies. Plus Hathaways were up on that stage with four stringed instruments, and yet they were not overwhelming string-y; they had a great balance between their instruments.
The last two bands were a twist on the usually expected local music scene. The Cheaper Hits were ruckus, exciting root music. Their rough sound was a serious contrast to the mostly folk based other musicians. Lastly, Folded Bones rocked the house. These guys had crazy awesome energy and had everybody rocking out. I would have liked to hear more originals, since a lot of their songs were covers. But, the originals they did play were wonderful and the covers were crowd pleasers too.
All in all, the Operation Santa Benefit Show was local hit after local hit after local hit. Everyone who came out had a wonderful time and gets good Samaritan points. All around awesome for this special time of the year!