Rock For Damon: A Benefit featuring Derby, The Bella Fayes and Oh Darling at The Secret Society

Vortex Music Magazine

Bass player and guitarist Damon Dunning recently suffered a stroke so his friends and fellow musicians have come together—some performing for the first time in several years—to throw a benefit show on December 20.

This holiday season instead of giving the gift of music, consider giving a musician a gift. That’s what three local bands are gearing up to do when they celebrate their love and friendship for a local musician who was recently hospitalized.

Bass man: Damon DunningBass man: Damon Dunning

Around Portland, Damon Dunning is known as an ace bass player and guitarist (in bands like Celilo, The Don of Division Street and Riviera), but in October, he suffered a major stroke that left him with stunted speech and partial paralysis on his right side. His road to recovery has been positive so far but he still has a ways to go. Countless kind words can be found about Damon’s generosity, musical talents, strong friendships, and love for his family, so it's only natural that his friends and fellow musicians have planned a benefit concert to boost awareness, show love and support, and raise funds at The Secret Society on Thursday, December 20.

To some, it may look like a typical concert. But to those ingrained in the local music scene, the anticipation of this benefit has far surpassed typical because two of the bands will be performing for the first time in years.

Although it’s been over three years since their last EP, Madeline (listen to a track from it below), was released, fans of Derby can still vividly remember how pleasant it felt to melt into the background of the trio's soft landscape of sound. With their refreshing hooks and daydreamy lyrics, the poppy Portland-based indie rockers look to close out the night in spectacular fashion by reuniting to play songs from a catalog that stretches back as far as 2005. As time progressed (from 2005-11) so did their sound, shuffling in a more brazen approach to their guitar work, akin to the same path bands such as Ted Leo and Matt Pond PA have taken. It’s a progression that's fit them well and one that should provide everyone in attendance with a soft reminder of how talented these gents are.

You know it’s all for a good cause when a band is willing to reunite for one night only and that’s exactly what The Bella Fayes are doing for Damon. They amassed quite a West Coast following while performing together from 2000-06 and are ready to plug the equipment back in to soak The Secret Society crowd with some dirty power pop. If gritty guitar hooks have been missing from your life lately, here’s your chance to fill that void. Giving off a post-punk Rolling Stones vibe, the four-man group will lay down all of your favorite tracks from their three-album catalog.

Oh Darling: Just look at how cute they areOh Darling: Just look at how cute they are

If romantic, catchy pop is more your style, show up early to dance the night away with openers Oh Darling. Turning a joyous event into an even brighter occasion, the Portland quartet have a knack for getting the crowd’s lips moving and their hips grooving to their floating vocals and driving beats. One can’t help but smile with each shake and shimmer of Oh Darling’s glitzy sound—have yourself a listen to the title track from their 2014 record below. With their colorful pop matching their vibrant stage antics and dress, the whole night will be a festive celebration for a great friend and truly deserving musical artist.

If you would like more information on Damon Dunning or if you'd like to donate to his cause, The Jeremy Wilson Foundation is currently accepting donations via its website. Please support Damon today and we hope to see you at The Secret Society on December 20!

And if you're feeling extra generous this holiday season, consider giving to the community organizations featured in our Give Guide.

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