The mood at the Newport Moose Club last Saturday night was a combination of church supper and rock festival, as six local bands pitched in to raise over $3,000 for Andy Dickinson. Friends of the Newport man, who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident last Thanksgiving, hugged, milled about selling 50/50 raffle tickets, and enjoyed the music.
Everyone munched pizza, donated by the local Domino’s, along with homemade meatballs, deli plates, baked beans and deviled eggs. In a corner of the stage, Shamus Martin worked the house sound for the entire 13-hour show. “I’m beat,” he said a little after midnight – but he was still smiling
.The benefit show came about through the efforts of Stonewall, one of Dickinson’s favorite bands. “Andy’s a huge Stonewall fan,” said show organizer Tina Warburton. As other musicians heard about the benefit, they stepped up to get involved. “I can’t believe how many bands called and offered their time,” says Warburton. “It’s amazing in this day and age to see so many people willing to help.”
Smoke and Mirrors, a new band that includes Claremont guitarist Brian Devenger, “crammed for weeks to get ready,” said Warburton, who is also Devenger’s niece. Saturday’s show was their first official gig. Local reggae favorites Saylyn played an early afternoon set, as did Sun King. Rutland-based Vision knocked out a solid set of covers, everything from “Rockin’ in the Free World” to “Hot Blooded.” Their performance sat well with the many Harley logo-festooned patrons crowding the dance floor.
D’Brotherhood, an edgy, politically charged three-piece group, dedicated an emotional rendition of an original song, “You Won’t Break Me,” to Andy. Stonewall closed the night, playing a rousing version of the Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues” for absent friend Dickerson.
“It was awesome, we’re very satisfied with the way it all went,” said Warburton, who said that the money raised at the benefit (along with a few dollars raised from bake sales last December) will be used to Dickinson’s home ready for his return from the Boston hospital where he’s currently receiving treatment.
Before the accident, Dickinson lived on the top floor of his Newport cape house, so the entire downstairs will require modifications. “We need to tear off the porch to build a room,” Warburton says. “This is really going to help with the house addition, we made enough money to do all the initial work.”
Dickinson’s sister Dee told Andy about the benefit during a visit Sunday. “He was happy, but also sorry he missed the show,” says Warburton. The good news is that all the bands involved, and some others who weren’t, will do it again when Andy comes home.
Anyone interested in contributing to the effort should contact Tina Warburton at 603-863-0520.