Rebecca Roudman and Jason Eckl of Dirty Cello have been volunteering since 2015 and are already dedicated Bread & Roses Presents performers. Novato-based and internationally renowned, Dirty Cello is known for their energetic mix of bluegrass, blues and classic rock. They have played with artists such as Santana, Joan Baez and Deltron 3030, and they performed their first show in June at The Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco.
Delancey Street Foundation is a beloved audience served by Bread & Roses since 1996. An innovative residential self-help center since 1971, they teach substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless people and others who have hit bottom how to turn their lives around through social entrepreneurship, education and rehabilitation. The residents are a famously enthusiastic audience. Rebecca mentioned before the show that she got a round of applause when she first walked in to the Town Hall to set up. A larger Bread & Roses audience than she has previously played for, she said she was looking forward to it and “we have a high energy show planned!”
As the Delancey Street greeters welcomed the audience, smartly dressed men and women hurried in, their excitement barely contained, to nab the seats in the front row with smiles on their faces. The room was vibrating with anticipation. Bread & Roses Executive Director Dave Perron took the stage to welcome the audience of over 200 people thanking them for their enthusiastic support and hospitality. Carolyn Gauthier, B&R Vice President & Program Director, then introduced Dirty Cello to resounding applause.
They started out with a bluesy rendition of "Crossroads" by Robert Johnson, and the audience instantly clapped along. Followed by an instrumental version of "Rock You Like a Hurricane," the audience soon sang along to the chorus, throwing up their hands as if at a rock concert.
Rebecca’s passionate electric cello solos had the audience enthralled particularly on their original songs. Songs like "I may not be perfect, but I’m pretty damn good" were an obvious favorite with cheers and laughter. This crowd certainly understood that no one is perfect, as they are all working hard to be better people.
The band then dove into a fiery rendition of "Fever." The instrumental introduction of the song inspired the crowd to sing along immediately. When Rebecca sang, her smoky voice and zealous cello playing had the audience spellbound. They whooped and cheered in amazement at Rebecca’s command of her cello.
After a pause following their last song, Rebecca announced “The band and I took a vote: You are the best audience EVER!” She introduced each of the band members who received thunderous, appreciative applause.
They played the more contemporary "Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked" by Cage the Elephant to which everyone sang along with the chorus: “Oh, there ain't no rest for the wicked/Money don't grow on trees/I got bills to pay/I got mouths to feed/And ain't nothing in this world for free/No I can't slow down/I can't hold back/Though you know I wish I could/No there ain't no rest for the wicked/Until we close our eyes for good.” Every single audience member was bobbing their heads in unison to the beat as they resonated with the lyrics as everyone was working hard every day to get their lives back on track.
At the end of their concert, the audience gave Dirty Cello a loud standing ovation. Everyone applauded as the entire band looked out with awe and gratitude. The band decided on a perfect encore song. The audience was still on their feet as everyone sang along to "Proud Mary."
A Delancey Street resident said the show was “Fantastic! [Rebecca] got them going! We appreciate it so much!” Andrew Kaluzynski, a Bread & Roses volunteer, said, “Dirty Cello knows how to uplift a crowd. It was a good mix of originals and some really fun cover songs. The audience response was a sight to behold!”
Said Rebecca, still breathless from the high-energy show and all the excitement, “This was just the best audience we have had! It fills my heart up 100 percent. I know when I wake up tomorrow, I will still be feeling good. What a treat!” She added, “I’ll keep doing shows for as long as you want! Until you stop calling, I’ll do shows!”
Bread & Roses Board Member Raj Gopal said that, “It is hard to put a price on the happiness that we bring to other people’s lives through live music.” Clearly this performance meant so much to each person in the room. It is hard to describe the impact that we have at each institutional show, over 600 programs each year. Through our new Backstage 365 Club, we will be able to invite more of our supporters to experience firsthand the heart-to-heart connection between artist and audience, in the same way the audience did in San Francisco at The Delancey Street Foundation with Dirty Cello. Click here to find out more. We hope you will join us.
Post by Carrie Sownie
Photos by Peter Merts