The rock show of the year

Chris Knox

The year may be far from over, but Will You Miss Me  When I’m Gone? has a feeling that the Chris Knox benefit at Manhattan club (Le) Poisson Rouge tonight is very likely to be the highlight of the year for those lucky enough to have gotten in.

We may have lagged a bit it posting while we search for new funding sources to keep WYMMWIG? going, but that hasn’t kept us away from the clubs and concert halls of New York and environs. And, with a bit of luck, we’ll be back with some recent updates tomorrow.

For now, you’ll have to settle for this.

For starters, you might ask, who’s Chris Knox and why does he need a benefit?

Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you can probably guess the answer to the second half of the question. Chris Knox is a musician, and, like most committed, full-time musicians, he doesn’t have adequate health care. (Not to be too grim about it, but the rock world has lost way too many of its best to the lack of proper health care — think Jay Bennett, for instance.)

The reclusive Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel is making a very, very rare appearance at the Chris Knox benefit.

Now, back to the first part of the question. Knox, 57, is a New Zealand rocker who with Alex Bathgate formed Tall Dwarfs, a pioneer of the lo-fi rock movement. He had a series of strokes last year, and now his musical descendants are lining up to pay him back for his tremendous influence by raising money to pay his medical bills.

Those musical descendants make up a list of indie rock’s’ best and brightest — and most reclusive.

The scheduled appearance of Jeff Mangum, the brains behind Neutral Milk Hotel, is stirring the most interest. He’s  been rather reclusive for the last 10 years, but is slated to play a short set tonight.

And then there’s the rest of the list (and organizer Ben Goldberg of BaDaBing Records says the lineup has been changing by the day), which includes: Yo La Tengo, the Magnetic Fields’ Claudia Gonson (can Stephin Merritt stay away?), TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone, Portastatic, The Clean, Sharon Van Etten, David Kilgour and who knows how many more.

Goldberg won’t even think about giving out a set list, so if you’re going, you need to get there early and plan to stay late. And don’t expect to see the usual host of photos on WYMMWIG? tomorrow, because all cameras are banned — there won’t even be a house photographer! Given how tightly this thing has been run, I pity the first jerk who’s caught taking photos during the show!

Here’s Goldberg’s policy rundown for the show:

Show Time, Camera Policy, Cool Runnings

Hello Everyone…

The days creep closer and closer to the day when we all will be together in momentary bliss. A few things I just want to make sure everyone is aware of so I don’t get yelled at the day of the show…

• DOORS AT 6PM; SHOW STARTS AT 6:30PM – We had to make things a bit earlier to fit everyone in. So, while originally we were thinking 8pm as the start time, we aren’t any more! Nope. The show is starting at 6:30pm.  We are aiming for everything to be finished by 1am.

• IF YOU WANT TO GET IN BEFORE 6:30PM ARRIVE EARLY – There will almost definitely be a line, and there will almost definitely be a delay in getting people in through the first hour or two. So, if you show up at 6:25pm, don’t get all pissed that you’re not inside by 6:30pm.

• WE ARE NOT GIVING OUT SET TIMES – They are changing daily, sometimes hourly, so if we put them up, they’ll end up just being wrong anyway and you’ll be all angry. So, better you have no idea when people are playing and come to the whole thing, right?

• NO CAMERAS OF ANY TYPE – NOT EVEN CAMERA PHONES – Like previously stated, please do not bring your cameras with you, because that will just cause trouble. Obviously, phones are necessary. So please keep them in your pockets. Do not photograph the bands while they play. Do not film the bands while they play. We’ve turned down some pretty incredible offers to record this for various outlets so that you can enjoy the show unencumbered, so – hey – don’t be a dick. Just soak it in, let the glory of the moment wash over you, and then spend the rest of your life reminiscing at how great it was that you are alive and were there.

-ba da ben

The benefit is shaping up as a model of civility and propriety. Goldberg has made sure that there’s virtually no chance that scalpers will get their hands on tickets (there are no physical tickets, for starters) and that original buyers don’t try to profit. The price was $75 apiece. And some people have tried to make money on them. (WYMMWIG? managed to score a pair and was immediately offered $500 for one ticket!) But Goldberg and his crew have policed craigslist, eBay, StubHub and elsewhere, and have managed to weed out people.

Whenever Goldberg tracks down a would-be scalper, he doesn’t just pull their tickets, he publicly names them, adding a crucial does of embarrassment to the proceedings that may well be helping to keep some scalpers at bay. He publicly flogged this scalper yesterday in a post on, the site that coordinated the raising of over $40,000 for Knox through the benefit:

The Chris Knox Benefit Concert

Project by Ben Goldberg

One Day Away, One More Scalper Down

posted about 22 hours ago

Everyone offer a moment of silence for Julie Steinberg, whose attempt to sell her ticket on Craig’s List was unfortunately thwarted. She will not be present with us tomorrow night.

But, in good news, everything is on schedule and moving along nicely! You know, I think things are actually going to work out! They actually are going to work out ok! The show might actually be fun!



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