Set List Bonus: Global Citizen Nights With The Fray, Saints Of Valory, Allen Stone
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By Erin Hanson
"Tonight is about action," said Global Poverty Project U.S. Country Director Justine Lucas to the more than 1,100 people in attendance at Emo's in Austin, Texas, during South by Southwest, reminding the crowd that they weren't at just any concert. But they already knew that. Attendees paid for their tickets through the currency of social action.
Following the success of the first two Global Citizen Festivals in New York, the Global Poverty Project has launched a new initiative called Global Citizen Nights. Much like the festival, fans can win tickets by taking action at www.globalcitizen.org, including signing online petitions, tweeting or watching videos all related to the organization's four main social issues: food aid reform, water and sanitation, global education, and polio eradication. Actions are defined as what you learn, say, give, buy, and do. GPP CEO Hugh Evans announced to the crowd that more than 15,000 actions had been taken over the past few weeks by those in attendance.
The inaugural Global Citizen Nights concert kicked off with Austin's own Saints Of Valory, who commanded the stage for the early arrivers and appeared happy to be home. Their set included their own interpretation of Lorde's GRAMMY-winning hit "Royals," which earned the attention of anyone who hadn't yet heard of them. Following their set, Evans took the stage to talk more about the new initiative, including GPP's overall goal to end extreme poverty by 2030.
"We are the first generation in all of human history that could see an end to extreme poverty in our lifetime," said Evans. "We want to take the movement all across America and it's starting here tonight."
Evans expanded on why the initiative's start at SXSW was important, explaining that music has played an integral role in social movements because it brings people together.
"The week of SXSW is that confluence of music, technology and culture all in one and we can unite a generation behind that."
Next up was Seattle native Allen Stone, whose vocal range was strikingly similar to that of a piano. Stone had a way of ensuring the crowd was moving for his entire set. He taught the crowd "the universal sway" for his upbeat "Celebrate Tonight" before bringing the mood down for "Unaware," both of which are featured on his 2011 self-titled debut. He also performed select songs from his forthcoming release and a slowed-down cover of Gotye's GRAMMY-winning hit "Somebody That I Used To Know." Between songs Stone touched on the significance of the evening.
"Tonight is not about me, it's not about the band … tonight is about coming together for a wonderful cause and enjoying the power and the beauty of the music," said Stone. "Anytime you get the opportunity to participate in a show about awareness for your impact on the globe, it's an honor and a privilege."
The Fray ended the night with a hit-laden set, including the GRAMMY-nominated "Over My Head (Cable Car)" and "You Found Me."
All of the evening's performers donated their time to the cause. According to Evans, "Global Citizen would not be what it is without the power behind the music industry."
Evans and the GPP team also highlighted that it's important for fans to know what they can do to help.
"[Global Citizen] is a year-round movement," he said. "[It's] not about an amazing night at Emo's, although that is the start."
For more information about attending a Global Citizen Nights concert in your area, click here for tour dates.
(Erin Hanson serves as the GRAMMY U Representative for The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter. She is a live music enthusiast and a proud USC Trojan. Follow her @erin__hanson.)