Published on January 7th, 2014 | by Ballard Lesemann


Gallery: Charleston’s Finest Explore ‘We Are The World’

Designed as a light-hearted holiday showcase and fundraiser for the Charleston Animal Society, the second annual “We Are the World” event went quite well at the Pour House on Jan. 5. Organizer Lindsay Holler booked two dozen local singers and musicians to perform one song each with a skillful house band comprised of Lee Barbour on guitar, Jonathan Gray on bass, Stuart White on drums, and Gerald Gregory on keys. 

Local songwriter Conor Donohue delivered a surprise opening set with backing from drummer White as “The Two Wet Bandits.”

Around 9:30 p.m., Doug Walters (Torture Town) stepped on stage with the house band, welcoming the crowd and announcing the official kick-off. They opened with a hearty cover of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love.” Brittany Puite (Hibachi Heroes) revved things up as Cyndi Lauper, doing a spot-on “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” The guys in the house had obviously done plenty of homework, learning the arrangements and matching most of the tones and key licks.

Laura Jane Vincent’s Steve Perry handling a stellar version of Journey’s “Open Arms,” Charles Carmody’s (of Introducing Fish Taco) goofy Paul Simon character on “Call Me Al,” and Johnny Puke’s Kenny Rogers conducting a terrific rendition of the First Edition’s 1967 hit “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).”

Other show highlights include Thomas McElwee’s (Fowler’s Mustache, Glowgoyle) limber take on Billy Joel’s “Los Angelenos” and Dan Hanf (of Introducing Fish Taco, Glowgoyle) reprising his boisterous role as Bruce Springsteen on a version of “Born to Run,” supported by Alan “Big Man” Brisendine guesting on sax.

Holler joined Jimmy Snyder for a bouncy cover of Willie Nelson’s “Whiskey River.” The shades-clad Steven Fiore’s Huey Lewis was amusing for the quick-tempo take of “Do You Believe It’s Love.” Cullen Baney and the band got down on a tight version of Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose.” Aaron Levy’s cool and smooth rendition of Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long” impressed the crowd, and Elliott Smith’s “Ray Charles” killed with “What’d I Say.”

Holler welcomed all of the featured vocalists plus a dozen extras to the stage for the grand finale — a lengthy performance of the 1985 anthem “We Are the World,” replete with tag-team verses and several huge choruses at the end.



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About the Author

Ballard Lesemann

is a musician and writer. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he spent years playing in bands and working for Flagpole Magazine in the bustling music town of Athens, Ga. He returned to his hometown and served more than seven years as the Charleston City Paper's music editor. He's better at drumming than he is at playing guitar.

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