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  • Marian Hubler

Johnny Colla and Ben & Ziek of Con Brio at Fall Benefit Concert Oct. 1 with Dark & Stormy

Bread & Roses Presents annual Fall Benefit Concert will be held on Monday, October 1, 2018 at the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley with legendary artist and Musical Host Johnny Colla, and a rare captivating duo performance by Ben and Ziek (Benjamin Andrews and Ezekiel McCarter) of Con Brio, along with music for dancing by the San Francisco rock band Dark & Stormy.

VIP tickets @ $127 include the concert, reserved seating and a reception at 5:30 pm. General Admission tickets @ $52 include the concert with doors at 7 pm. Click here for tickets or call (415) 945-7120. All proceeds help support Bread & Roses to bring hope, healing and joy through live music in over 600 annual programs to isolated audiences in Bay Area institutions.

Musical Host for the evening is Marin County’s own Johnny Colla, a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who is a founding member of Huey Lewis and the News. Johnny will open the show with a few of his favorite songs. The Sacramento native plays guitar and saxophone and co-wrote many hits with Huey Lewis including The Heart of Rock & Roll, If This Is It, The Power of Love and Back in Time.

He came to the SF Bay Area during the music scene surrounding the Summer of Love and played with a number of artists including Sly & The Family Stone, Van Morrison and his own band Johnny Colla and the Lucky Devils. He founded Soundhole in the early 70s, teaming up with Huey Lewis in the latter part of the decade to form Huey Lewis and The News. While still part of the News, Colla embarked on a solo career. In his band member bio for the News, he said “Deep inside, every songwriter wants to sing the songs they write…Once a person writes something they believe in, it is strong medicine.”

Ben and Ziek of Con Brio (guitarist Benjamin Andrews and vocalist Ezekiel McCarter) are integral to the seven-piece band’s fresh and freethinking soul, psych-rock and R&B music. As a vocal/guitar duo, they have an intuitive interplay that has to be heard and seen live to be fully appreciated. Ziek’s electrifying stage presence and full-voiced singing, along with Ben’s soulful guitar playing. make for an unforgettable concert experience.

Con Brio is named for an Italian musical direction that means with spirit or vigor. The charismatic twenty-six-year-old Ziek fully lives up to the spirit of their band name. Says renowned coach and vocalist Raz Kennedy, "Zeke represents one of those young entertainers from the new generation that's firmly informed by, and steeped in the legacy of the classic soul singing front men like Jackie Wilson and James Brown. Zeke puts forth a new rendering of, and is the epitome of, that old school style tradition with a unique spin which transforms the genre into an expression which is all his own. Funky, soulful, fun and emotionally moving best describes the experience when taking in this performer. Keep your eyes and ears wide open for this young brother."

A resident of the Fillmore in San Francisco, his incredible voice and showmanship have been central to catapulting Con Brio from the clubs of SF to the concert halls of Europe. The band is already an accomplished act with their music’s universal themes of love and self-acceptance being applauded by fans all over the world. Recent major festival dates include Outside Lands, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, The North Sea Jazz Festival in Europe, Fuji Rock in Japan, Blues Fest in Australia as well as their Bay Area triumph at Sound Summit on Mt. Tamalpais.

Ziek is also a singer-songwriter and the band’s main lyricist. He wrote a poignant song called Free & Brave after his late Army veteran father was killed under questionable circumstances by law enforcement in East Texas in 2011. He is all the more remarkable for rising above this personal tragedy to become a powerful force for love and understanding in the world through his music. For a recent interview with Tahoe on Stage, Ziek said “Music has become a positive platform for me. Inclusiveness and universal love and positivity have inspired me since I was a young child.”

Dark & Stormy is a five-piece rock band known for the groove and improvisation they bring to rock classics, rich in harmonies, deep on guitar and organ, and rooted in Jerry Garcia, the Allman Brothers and other greats.

In the words of bandleader Pete Petitt, “Dark & Stormy is a tribute to the scratchy albums, wonky cassettes and barroom shows that have blown your mind over the years. The band formed in 2015, with a mission to bring friends together and celebrate the music and experiences we grew up on. We're honored to take the Sweetwater stage, and we will be serving up a cocktail of jam band tunes inspired by the greats and garnished with our own twist. We always take chances and we sweat a lot on stage.”

The players include Jeff Webb on guitar and vocals, Pete Petitt on guitar and vocals, John Amster on keyboards and vocals, Anderson Page on bass and Kevin Woodhouse on drums.

The event is likely to sell out, so get your tickets now and support our ongoing program!

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