A benefit for a worthy cause


Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 12:21 a.m.
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J. Robbins plays for his son Callum, who was recectly diagnosed with Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy. A show at Common Grounds tomorrow night will benefit this family.

Special to The Sun
Given the topic at hand, it seems morally repugnant to invent a clever introduction for the show at Common Grounds tomorrow night, so I'll just give it to you straight.
Towers of Hanoi, Oriflamme, Squeaky and Laserhead are playing a benefit show for Callum Robbins, the 11-month-old son of J. and Janet Robbins.
Callum was recently diagnosed with Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy, also known as Werdnig-Hoffman disease, which causes the degeneration of the spinal neurons that relay signals from the brain to the muscles. It is incurable and often fatal.
Even if you don't know J. Robbins, chances are, you're not a total stranger to his contributions to music.
In addition to playing in Government Issue, Jawbox, Burning Airlines and Channels, J. has produced a library of records for bands like Against Me!, Rahim, Paint it Black, Apollo Quartet, Jets to Brazil, Jimmy Eat World, The Dismemberment Plan, Braid and so very many more.
I have to admit that I don't know the man myself, though I can't help but respect him. With that resume, it's clear he's not in this business to get rich, and when you make music for music's sake, you're doing a service to everyone.
In Gainesville, an enormous amount of emphasis is placed on supporting our own high-quality music scene. Despite the fact that Janet and J. aren't locals, attending this show is doing just that.
J. is one of the reasons that "indie" is alive and well today. Say what you will about that label, or the bands that get it. Just don't try to deny that there are many a band that fall in that category that are undeniably good. Through their influence, we see real, local results of the work of people like J.
Infants with Type 1 SMA have a life expectancy of about two years. Children who survive those dangerous first two years normally retain their intellectual abilities.
In spite of all the obstacles he now faces, Callum has the potential to do just as much for the music world as his father before him. We all have the chance to be a part of that by doing what we can and helping him and his parents give him that opportunity.
It would be a far greater thing to find an effective treatment or cure for this debilitating genetic disorder.
Until then, we can help this families and others like them, who, through no fault of their own, must endure this hardship.
To learn more about J., Janet and Callum, visit www.desotorecords.com/cal/index.shtml, where there is also a link to make direct donations to the family.
To learn more about SMA, visit the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation at www.smafoundation.org, or Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy at www.fsma.org.
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Tomorrow night at The Side Bar, justifiably perennial local favorites Morningbell will be taking the stage with Apollo Quartet and Team Mascot. In purely musical terms, this is the best show of the night.
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On Saturday night, papercranes are playing Common Grounds with Funkiller and Hospitals On the Moon. I highly recommend papercranes to anyone who's yet to see them live.
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Also Saturday at The Side Bar, great Orlando funk/soulsters The Legendary JC's will be in town once again. This time around, they're pairing up with Umoja Orchestra, a world music act that should not be missed.
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Sunday night features the duel of the punk shows. For the lighter listener, check out Whole Wheat Bread, Man Down!, Ten 13 Concept and Shortfuse at 1982. For those seeking a bolder brew, Common Grounds is presenting Agent Orange, The Horror and The Draft.
Reach Kyle Mitchell at quieteidolon@gmail.com

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