If you’re looking for a dance party with an interesting concept that supports a good cause, swing by Headliners Music Hall for Where It’s At. A benefit for Strive, a non-profit arts and wellness organization, the concert puts a twist on the battle of the bands format. Featuring some of Louisville’s finest musicians — Peter Searcy, Carly Johnson, Scott Carney, Lacey Guthrie and many more — the participants will be split into “teams” to sing the songs of Justin Timberlake and Beck. Team Beck will be backed by Drew Miller’s Curio Key Club and Team Timberlake will be backed by Kevin Ratterman, Andrew Sellers and Ray Rizzo. Rizzo, a local ex-pat and founder of the Motherlodge Live Arts Exchange, spearheaded the event, and is hoping to make this something for the history books, and he certainly has the vision to make it so. The good news is, given the talent involved and the premise of the show, everyone wins.
Working with Strive founders Cheyene Mize and Nina Rodahaffer was an easy fit for Rizzo, and one that he learned from.
“I am really grateful that Nina and Cheyenne invited me to take a seat on the board of Strive — and the office of Vice President — which has been a first for me,” he says. “Watching their organizational work this year and their shaping of Strive’s possibilities has been ridiculously inspiring to me. Motherlodge was established in 2009 to be a conduit to help performing artists grow new works outside of the compartmentalized expectations of the late 20th century arts and entertainment industrial complex.”
For Rizzo, it was a no brainer to pick Timberlake and Beck, music that people can have fun with: “I wanted to bring to Nina and Cheyenne a unique fundraiser idea that could introduce as many people to Strive as possible, and the idea of throwing a dance party was kind of floating in the air, because we love to freak. My initial suggestion was Justin Timberlake, whose music suits the spirit of Strive. Band-wise, I thought that arranging the JT song rhythms with an extended percussion section would be an exciting reflection of Strive’s wellness programming, which includes drum circle nights. Nina and Cheyenne came up with the brilliant ideas of adding Beck and the band battle.”
Of course, there were obstacles in setting up an event that includes this many players. Rizzo admits, “We certainly asked more people than were able to do it, but on the whole, we got everyone we hoped for. The asking was easy because the three of us have a pretty rich extended web of musician friends — me through Motherlodge and living in Louisville for 20 years, Cheyenne from her multiple music projects and solo performances, and Nina knows a lot of people too.”
He continues, adding, “The challenge of attempting a show like this has to be an attractive part of the endeavor in the first place, and you have to allow the audience to see you sweat. During the show, we won’t be instinctively playing songs like a DJ, but let us not forget that it was musicians who first grew the instincts to vibe with an audience and rock the house. You’ll have to show up and see how we do.”