Scenes From Saturday's Have a Heart Benefit at Trees.

Saturday's Have a Heart benefit at Trees had great ambition and a solid lineup to boot, but, just to be frank, most of the chatter both in advance of and during the 12-hour-long affair centered around one Leon Bridges and his rapid ascent.

This was, after all, the highest-profile gig that the Fort Worth soul man's played in Dallas since signing to Columbia Records on Christmas Day. And curiosity certainly served as a mighty draw on Saturday as Bridges, flanked by Fort Worth sax pro Jeff Dazey and a trio of backing vocalists, performed his early set.

As many as 200 or so people carved out some free afternoon time in order to catch this short performance — a figure that, over the course of the day's festivities would indeed be surpassed in total, but never necessarily at any given individual time. That's a shame indeed — a dozen other acts played to help raise funds for beneficiary John Bullard and his fight with cerebral palsy — but Bridges and Co. didn't disappoint in their highlighted role. With songs that were sparsely arranged but still bursting with emotion, Bridges proved himself well worthy of the hype. Soft-spoken and modest, he soaked in the spotlight without excessively basking in it.

And, unlike so many others in the room during his set, he actually stuck around after the fact, rocking out right up front to the shredding of young Dallas quartet Moon Waves and Dead Mockingbird, each of which — along with Sealion (who stepped in for an ill Son of Stan), Matthew & The Arrogant Sea, Madison King, Ronnie Heart, Telegraph Canyonb and The Outfit, TX — helped to capably fill out the local portion of the bill. Beach Fossils, The Appleseen Cast and Indian Jewelry rounded out the touring portion of the card, with The Appleseed Cast particularly engaging the second-fullest audience of the day with its emotive offering.

At the time of this writing, organizers say they haven't yet tallied up the figures on the fundraiser. But, on Saturday, they were already talking a big game about future fundraisers they wished to throw in the future. Here's hoping they follow through on that: Few withstood this event's entirety — a 12-hour run has that effect on people, to be fair — but its greater offerings merited more attention than many gave it just the same.
















Photos 11, 15 and 16 by Pete Freedman. All others by Karlo X. Ramos.

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