Kyle Cox, Matt Hires &
Chet Vincent & The Big Bend
Hard Rock Cafe
March 30, 2017
By Whitney Lerch
Chet Vincent photos by Zach Nellis
Matt Hires and Kyle Cox photos by Sarah L. Wilson Photography
Thursday, March 30th marked the 6th annual CureRock concert, which raises funds and awareness for the fight against childhood cancer. CureRock, which started as an annual event, but over the years has grown into an independent non-profit organization (as of last fall), organizes a variety of events throughout the year to carry out its mission to support and educate in the fight against pediatric and adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer and to financially support educational, research and quality of life programs while raising awareness in the community. All of this, done through live music events throughout Pittsburgh. However, the March event is always the biggest and the primary focus of the year. The funds raised by CureRock stay here in Pittsburgh, to support local childhood cancer patients and researchers, thus the group always invites local musicians, in addition to touring acts, to be a part of the show. CureRock 2017, which took place at Hard Rock Cafe on March 30th, was no exception and featured some incredible acoustic performances by Nashville’s Kyle Cox and Matt Hires, before Pittsburgh’s own Chet Vincent and The Big Bend rocked the crowd to close out the show. With Randy Baumann of the WDVE Morning Show as emcee, the night went off without a hitch and was the most successful CureRock show to date with approximately 150 guests and funds raised approaching $15,000!
Kyle Cox got the show started with his beautiful guitar picking and a lyrically brilliant collection of songs that included “Trusty Ol’ Pair of Boots”, “I Ain’t Been Lonely” and “Stick Around”. He also played my favorite of his collection of songs, “Fields of My Heart”. This song is simply perfect. And you can learn the story behind the song in SSE’s interview with Kyle which can be found on our website, published March 20th 2017 (go check it out!).
After Kyle’s performance, the crowd was quieted and listened to Andy, the father of a an amazing young boy who lost his battle to cancer and Brady, a 15 yr old cancer survivor who recently completed his chemotherapy and radiation treatments, share their stories and why CureRock means so much to them. The speakers were incredible and truly made everyone realize the real purpose of the evening.
Next up was Matt Hires, singer-songwriter also out of Nashville and the only return performer to CureRock in six years. Matt headlined the 2015 CureRock event with a full band performance and returned this year for an acoustic set. Pulling songs from older albums and his newest release, American Wilderness, his set included among others; “Fighting a Ghost”, “Red Eye”, “Glory Bound”, “State Lines” and the incredible “Don’t Let Your Heart Grow Cold”. He mixed it up with some upbeat and slower songs and closed out his set with “A –> B”. It was another amazing Matt Hires performance for CureRock and there was chatter that evening in the crowd about hopes that he’ll be back again!
One more story about how cancer has touched the life of 10yo Angelika, who won the hearts of the CureRock audience as she addressed how far she’s come in her fight against cancer since her last CureRock speech one year ago before the headlining act. After Angelika wowed the crowd, Pittsburgh’s Chet Vincent and The Big Bend took the stage and turned up the volume and energy a bit for the remainder of the night. Starting off with the first three tracks of their 2016 released album Celebrate, they rocked the stage with “The Spins”, “Chain Smokin” and “One Night Only” before taking it back to 2014 with “Limousine”. Every person who walked by me during their set stopped to comment on how much they loved their rock sound and one described the vibe as a mix of 90’s grunge and 70’s rock, which I don’t disagree with and is also why I love them. I mean, how can you beat that combination??? They moved through their 10 song set before closing out the show with the title track from their most recent album, “Celebrate”, which I found to be an entirely fitting close to such an amazing night! It was time to celebrate a successful event, but not forgetting the reason we were all there that night, the line “I have to celebrate the changes. Sometimes they hurt though. Sometimes they hurt so bad”, also seemed to be pretty spot on parting words for the evening. We do need to celebrate what CureRock does for childhood cancer patients in the greater Pittsburgh area and the awareness they raise for the cause, but I must say, it does hurt, so bad, to hear the stories from those touched by childhood cancer and realize how much of a need there truly is for organizations like CureRock. Chet and the Big Bend did CureRock proud that night. They put on an incredible performance, acknowledged the cause on stage and then left the event with a handful of CureRock shirts and were spotted in town the next day representing CureRock, sporting the name across the chest, continuing to spread awareness. Truly standup guys, they are.
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Chet Vincent and the Big Bend