How is this era in America going to be remembered? Will it be glamorized like the 1960s? Is it going to be defined by greed and corruption like the 80s or possibly the general malaise of the 90s? This current period of Americana is in disarray, especially in terms of our loyal veterans. I heard some of the more disturbing facts this weekend at the Project 9line benefit at Even Flow Bar and Grill.
Project 9line: mission statement and purpose
Project 9line is a charity started by Patrick Donohue. Donohue was a member of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division and he is truly “doing God’s work.” Project 9line’s purpose is to help integrate American war veterans, get them working and establish purpose. Military life is completely different than civilian life and people are, by nature, creatures of habit. Transitions are tough. Project 9line’s mission is simple: healing veterans with reintegration issues through entrepreneurship and love. They are at the forefront of helping veterans who are ill with anxiety and depression, as well as other symptoms of PTSD. They provide community outreach, guidance and a platform to communicate to those who need it.
The gruesome truths about American military war veterans
- 22 veterans commit suicide daily in the U.S.
- 20% of veterans have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- High anxiety—a condition of the central nervous system—occurs in one out of every four veterans.
- Veterans have a 10% unemployment rate (above the National Average)
- 27% of ex-military suffer from alcoholism and substance abuse.
By the time we got to Even Flow, the poster child for Project 9line was on stage. We were introduced to Sarge. Sarge returned from Afghanistan 9 months ago and suffers from PTSD. He told us 9 months ago he couldn’t stand to get off his couch. Today, Sarge came on stage with a band called Zulu Delta Bravo. Sarge picked up a microphone and the speakers rattled with his voice, scarred with emotion. As Sarge sang Pearl Jam’s “Black” every hair on my arm stood up in a roll call. He stirred emotions inside me that I never had before.
I’ve listened to “Black” probably a thousand times before, but I never actually heard the song prior. I believe Sarge was not just singing for us at Even Flow but for his platoon and every member of the Armed Service. This moment will be my lasting impression of Project 9line.Impressive shows were given by Frank Bones, Shermman Skilliams’ duo of Sargon Skilliams and Franky Gray, The Diamond Jig Band and Big Magic. Bones is a producer for Down the Drain Productions and after hearing this my expectations increased tenfold. Frank Bones did not disappoint. Shermman Skilliams added a little hip-hop flavor. They had that classic old school Mobb Deep/ Gangstarr sound that I thought was lost forever. The Diamond Jig Band brought crazy energy! This group played a 3+ hour set the night before in New York City and another 1 hour here, and they claim they did not repeat a single song. I love “Jam Bands” like the Diamond Jig Band.
Headliners of Project 9Line benefit at Even FlowSo for the headliners: Ernie D’Alessio and Joe Aliperti have dubbed themselves Big Magic, and magic it was. D’Alessio and Aliperti were just as skilled at playing their guitars as a surgeon, who has 20-years of experience, is with a scalpel. After the duo completed their last song the performers that remained at Even Flow came on stage and just jammed out. This was a satisfying ending to the show.
The next benefit event at Even Flow is March 30This was my fourth or fifth event I covered at Even Flow. I really love this place. Danny Wiseman, the owner, has created the perfect small venue. The beautiful thing about Even Flow is this is the ultimate “mom and pop” shop. They are true to themselves. For instance, Patrick Donohue and Danny Wiseman saw the success of this event and decided to work together again. Within 10 minutes they decided a night, name and specials for this upcoming show. Patrick made his way to the stage, cleared his throat and announced Sunday March, 30 will be “Wings for Warriors.”
Wings for Warriors benefit at Even Flow“Wings for Warriors” will be a benefit for Project 9line and Even Flow bar. Half the proceeds will go to Project 9line and the other half will pay for Even Flow’s trip to the National Wing Festival in Buffalo, NY. March 30th marks the halfway point for the Wings Party. The best part … for $40 at the door, guests get unlimited craft beers and wings! Guests will be entertained by Craving Strange and All New Episode (both bands have wings named after them). Patrick Donohue recited a poem that he wrote at the Project 9line benefit, and I would like to share it.
“The lucky ones find God. Starved for salvation, returning home was odd. Our new life, a realization. Feelings were dying of thirst, no hydration. Thirsty for love, we stay lost, dying [from] no form of acclamation. What was once suspected now glaringly confirmed, changed forever no need to be concerned. Love, lust, trust are lost. Really it’s unearned. We are no longer who we are before we went to war. Wounds so deep, not visible, but impossible to ignore the impact on relations yet—just another loss. Do they really care if you won a “Distinguished Service Cross?” Will I ever be the man I was before I live this life? Do not worry soldier, I’m Joe D I’ll take care of your wife. The longing to return to the hostile combat zone. Although this is ludicrous, all of us are prone. Christmas day couldn’t change the fact I’m wishing all of my brothers would have returned from our mission. I miss the intense purpose and bond. I wouldn’t change it if I had a magic wand. Survival was us depending on one another, from birth with rights. I am your surrogate mother.” – Patrick Donahue