The phrase “heavy metal” might conjure images of hedonistic head banging, but every type of tune can be used for selfless things as well. High Kikks, an ‘80s cover band based in Montreal, used their hard rock powers for good on March 22, when they held a fundraiser for Canadian Feed the Children (CFTC).
Their concert on the campus of Concordia University saw 140 metal devotees bang their heads for charity. The event brought in about $700 in donations.
In the summer of 2003, Ramz Lightz and Ralph A. Samah met at a Metallica concert and formed a bond around metal and hard rock that eventually led to them forming High Kikks in late 2012. The quartet features Lightz on lead guitar and Samah on drums, while bassist Dany Mokhtar and lead vocalist Ralph Zeidan round out the group’s sound.
Lightz says that while they all share some musical influences, each member does have his own style and particular favorites within metal and hard rock genres. Glam metal, some of the heavier metal genres and classic rock all serve as inspiration. They cover bands like Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Poison and Bon Jovi. This fundraiser was their first show.
CFTC partners with organizations at home and abroad “to enhance the well-being of children and the self-sufficiency of their families and communities.” They do this through food security, education and capacity building programs like the Canadian National Aboriginal Nutrition Program, classroom construction and agricultural training.
The Toronto based charity focuses on vulnerable populations in Canada, especially Aboriginal communities and works with local community-based partners in developing countries with a high under-five mortality rate. They have programs in Bolivia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti and Uganda.
Lightz initiated the idea of holding a fundraising concert and organized it through the MSc Student Committee at Concordia University. He says their set-ending performance was one of the highlights of the night, since friends from the audience joined them onstage to sing Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.
Lightz handled booking the venue, posting ads all over the university, selling tickets and many of the other details of setting up a concert. Samah also played a big role in the planning. It was through his contacts that they were “able to find a great sound tech and rent the proper equipment for the show,” Lightz says.
While he admits that “planning the event was extremely stressful,” Lightz allows that it’s necessary to think through the details of a show like this as soon as possible.
“There are so many things that could go wrong on the day of the show,” Lightz relays. “There are so many details that go into putting on a rock show; finding a venue, equipment rental, hiring a sound man, sound checking, security, seating, ticket sales at the door and other things. It’s very important that everything is planned out carefully.”