When comedian Mike Birbiglia characterized the Ally Coalition‘s 6th Annual Talent Show as one of his favorite charity events, I nodded my head in agreement. He noted that The Town Hall wasn’t filled with wealthy people attending the event so they could atone for how they gained their money but was sold-out because people came to see great performers. I felt like I was at one of 826 NYC‘s benefits from a decade or so back where I could see Sufjan Stevens or Jon Stewart.
The 6th Annual Talent show raised $230,000 for LGBTQ youth with the help of several comedians, including Birbiglia, Roy Wood Jr., and Jacqueline Novac, and musicians, including Bleachers (Jack Antonoff’s band), Jason Isbell, Dixie Chicks, and special guests Carly Rae Jepsen and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weeknd. Though to be fair, the event sold out before any performers were announced. I knew I wanted to attend because past lineups had been so strong.
What I hadn’t expected was that musicians would be taking chances and playing new or unreleased songs. I thought it would be a hit-filled affair. So I was more than pleased to hear Isbell perform a new song he wrote about watching his daughter grow up (Wood Jr, also a new father, was probably as awe-struck by the song as I was). Koenig invited Dev Hynes of Blood Orange and Isbell to join him for Vampire Weekend’s “Married in a Gold Rush”, with the band only picking the tempo right before the performing. Jepsen also performed an unreleased song, one she noted Antonoff had worked on only after expressing some hesitancy.
But the night belonged to the Dixie Chicks. While they have been working on a new record, they didn’t share any of those songs and instead mixed up two originals with two covers. The group performed “Truth #2”, a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”, “Not Ready to Make Nice”, and closed with Joni Mitchell’s “River”. Lead singer Natalie Maines was unsatisfied with the first start of the final song, and the Dixie Chicks reset for a stirring take on the beautiful holiday tune before leaving the audience too soon.
Roy Wood Jr.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Jack Antonoff and Carly Rae