By Erin Coulehan, Contributor, DC Music Live
In a world wrought with news of the latest shooting, suicide or other attacks waged against life, To Write Love on Her Arms, a non-profit organization devoted to assisting people struggling with depression, substance abuse and addiction, offers hope and resources in an increasingly dismal social landscape.
To Write Love on Her Arms began in 2006 as a response to a troubled friend in need by founder Jamie Tworkowski. The organization rapidly evolved into a full-on movement with the support of bands including Switchfoot and Anberlin who aligned themselves with the vision of TWLOH: support individuals battling against their inner demons, while also encouraging conversations about such heavy, and often unspoken, issues by connecting with individuals through music.
It wasn’t long until local shows were put on in support of the cause, and the organization also took to the road alongside The Vans Warped Tour. But now, the organization has a tour of its own.
After winning a grant from The American Giving Awards presented by Chase Bank on NBC, TWLOH got moving and began a 17-city journey across America called The Heavy and Light tour, and stopped at The Fillmore in Silver Spring on February 15.
“We’re more than the sum of our parts,” Chad Moses says in between setting up merch, tracking down wandering musicians and setting up for the Silver Spring
In addition to providing information about local resources which help provide treatment for depression, addiction and other forms of self-injury, The Heavy and Light Tour showcases the talents of equally dedicated musicians.
“The goal is to be unifying, but we also want each night to be cohesive,” explained Moses. “This tour is a gift.”
The support from the bands is deeply comforting. Whether the bands, or sometimes individual members of the bands like Anthony Raneri of Bayside, can make a series of shows or hop on for one or town on the road, the efforts are well-received.
Steven McMorran of Nashville indie-rock quartet Satellite made it to The Fillmore from Baltimore with just enough time for sound check and a quick chat before the show.
With its debut album, Calling Birds, set for release on March 5, Satellite has been hard at work writing songs, completing the album and figuring out what comes next.
“It was a bit of a cathartic experiment,” says McMorran of the band’s origins. But the experiment has proven to be worthwhile for Satellite who signed with Sony Music’s Descendant Records in the summer of 2012.
“I kept thinking about the idea of what could happen next,” recalls McMorran before darting off to sound check.
“Patience has been a struggle, but sometimes you just have that gut feeling.”
That evening, The Heavy and Light Tour featured intimate acoustic performances from the aforementioned Raneri of Bayside, Jon Foreman from Switchfoot and Christina Perri. Attendees danced, while some wept, while others frequented the merch table and inquired about volunteering; a beautiful display of human the wide range of human emotion. The most distinctive aspect of the evening was the artists’ engagement with the audience: they weren’t fishing for applause or flirting with the crowd, but actively encouraging discussion and sharing stories of their own.