3 Bands to Perform Year 6 of Rockin’ for Veterans at Rockingham VFW


Close-up of Jonathan Robinson doing a slide lick at Rockin’ for Veterans in 2019. Photos by William R. Toler – Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — The sound of electric guitars will ripple off the walls of VFW Post 4203 on Saturday night as three local bands crank it up to 11 for the annual Rockin’ for Veterans concert.

The event, now in its sixth year, was launched by the auxiliary chapter of the post in 2016 and has taken place every year except 2020 – during the COVID pandemic – and serves as a fundraiser to provide sports packages. care of certain local service units and members stationed overseas. .

Auxiliary President Robin Roberts said they will be setting up a table for hero tree ornaments and thank you cards for deployed troops. They will also collect school supplies.

Hamlet songwriter and guitarist Jonathan Robinson will kick off the show with his band, featuring Joe Felice on bass and Robert Dufresne on drums — and harmonica.

Dufresne served in the US Army Special Forces as a Green Beret.

Robinson played Rockin’ for Veterans in 2017, 2018 and 2019 with various members of his backing band, including year-old Chuck Smith on bass and fellow Hamlet native John Martin on drums. His sister, Ashely Robinson, also took the mic for a few songs in the first year.

His blues-rock set list includes several original tracks in addition to covers of songs by Jimi Hendrix and the Allman Brothers Band.

“It’s always an honor to play against Rockin for veterans and I can’t wait to hear this year’s lineup,” Robinson said Wednesday night. “I can’t think of a better reason to get together and play some music.”

Hardwired performing at Rockin’ for Veterans in 2019: Mark McRae, drums; Phillip Neal, guitar; Bub Barrett, bass.

Another somewhat local group, Hardwired, is returning to the event for the fifth year. The only year the band hasn’t played is 2018.

Although they now live closer to Charlotte, guitarist Phillip Neal and bassist Bub Barrett grew up in Richmond County and drummer Mark McRae hails from neighboring Anson County.

Neal told the RO in 2019 that all of the band members’ fathers and many of their friends had served in the military. Neal’s father, the late Dr. John William Neal, served in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

Their hard rock set list ranges from the Beatles to Stevie Ray Vaughn to AC/DC — and they usually end with Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper.”

“I thank God every day for the men and women of our military who protect our freedoms and if we can make a little difference by providing some good old rock ‘n’ roll, we’re ok,” he said. he stated at the time.

Headlining this year is Aftermath, making their second Rockin’ for Veterans appearance.

The band features both Jeremy Wright and Matthew Davis trading guitar licks, Jerry Davis on drums, Brian Carter on bass and Franklin Branch on vocals, with Adam McInnis providing sound.

Another hard rock band, Aftermath’s repertoire spans decades, including Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” The Knack’s “My Sharona,” I Ran” from A Flock of Seagulls and several songs from Stone Temple Drivers.

“It’s such an honor to be asked to perform at this special event,” Branch said. “The veterans are the headliners. We’re just part of the incredible line-up put together to honor them.

Aftermath performs at Rockin’ for Veterans in 2021. Left to right: Jeremy Wright, Franklin Branch, Jerry Davis, Matthew Davis and Brian Carter.

Other previous acts have included Ponder (later The Ponder Project), The Safety Committee, Jeremy Robinson (with August Burning, the Moonlight Shiners and Avenue 133, The Way She Goes, Mother Reign and Marina Sol. Local drummer Virgil Bowler also performed with Hardwired in 2016 and Jonathan Robinson in 2017.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., sale of barbecue plates. The music should start at 6 p.m. The cover charge is a $10 donation and other donations will be accepted.

Auxiliary VFW Post 4203 also plans the annual Veterans Day Parade, scheduled for Nov. 5 in downtown Rockingham after the service at Richmond County Veterans Memorial Park. The All Veterans Jump Team will perform a parachute demonstration, weather permitting, and the parade will feature an entry from Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne Division.

The deadline to participate in the parade is October 22.


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