Fantastic four jam for firefighters’ families

By Greg Hanlon

Your local bands will take the stage at Williamsburg’s Luna Lounge on March 26 to benefit the Bravest Scholarship Fund, whose mission is to help children of deceased firefighters pay for college. The four-band lineup – which includes HerMajesty, Spierlerfrau, Paperdoll, and The Memories – will start playing at 7:30 p.m. The show will run until around midnight. The bands were brought together by HerMajesty lead singer JP, who was inspired to do something for the families of firefighters by band-made Vanessa Wharton. Wharton, HerMajesty’s keyboardist, is a licensed massage therapist. After the September 11th, 2001 attacks, she volunteered her services on the tired bodies of firefighters doing heavy labor in “the pile.” During that time, Wharton developed close relationships with many members of the FDNY. Having kept up these relationships in the intervening years, the plight of firefighters has not strayed from her mind. Wanting to honor the city’s Bravest, Wharton and JP chose the Bravest Scholarship Fund as their charity of choice. “We saw a lot of benefits being done for the firefighters themselves, so we thought honoring the children of the ones that died would be a natural extension of that work,” JP said. The fund, which started in 1999, works simply: it gives children of deceased firefighters $10 toward college. Winners of the scholarship receive $4,000 initially, and then $2,000 for each additional year, good for a total of $10,000. To date, 143 scholarships have been awarded for a total of $881,500. The scholarship, formally called the “Captain Hans Meister Bravest Scholarship Fund,” is named after Captain John Henry “Hans” Meister, who died in 1943 days after fighting a five-alarm electrical fire in Long Island City. It began in 1999 when Meister’s grandson, Rich Meister, kick-started it with a large donation. Two years later, the September 11th attacks underscored its vital importance. The four bands performing at the show can all be described as “indie,” or “alternative” rock. But within that classification, they display a great deal of diversity. Leading off the night will be Spielerfrau, known for their edgy, Agitpop-esque sound and literary lyrics. Lead singer and band-leader Michael Idov, a Brooklyn resident and Russian immigrant, displays a sardonic wit over a haunting musical backdrop. Next up is Paperdoll, a high-energy alternative pop band. Fronted by talented lead-singer Teresa Lee, Paperdoll’s music is unapologetic in its catchiness, a perfect compliment to it straightforward, accessible lyrics. HerMajesty, known for its melodic, visceral anthems, will take the stage next. Their sound, which has been described as “spacey” and “swooning,” reflects elements of British Glam-rock. Last on the lineup is The Memories, whose introspective British folk sound, tempered by infectious catchiness, will send audience members home on the good note. The Luna Lounge is located at 361 Metropolitan Avenue. Tickets cost $12. Doors open at 7 p.m. To order tickets, go to ticketweb.com, or order by phone through TicketWeb by calling 866-468-7619. For more information, go to www.lunalounge.com.

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