It has been a full week since the unfathomable murders of Soroush and Arash Farazmand changed the Yellow Dogs, and Brooklyn, forever. Since last Monday, words of love and support for these young rockers have flowed through the internet from all over the world. Considering my previous work with the band, I felt it necessary to share in the mourning process, which was topped off last night at Brooklyn Bowl with a Benefit Concert and Memorial. Williamsburg draped itself in a darker black than usual and came out to commemorate the lives of these widely loved brothers and multi-talented artist, Ali Eskandarian.
The Yellow Dogs had recently begun to play Brooklyn Bowl with regularity, even serving as one of the venue's promotional word puzzles on Facebook. It was only fitting that the venue cancelled their existing Monday night show and offered to donate the proceeds from the show to the cause. The benefit was preceded by a small and somber memorial at Cameo Gallery where yellow roses were distributed and the raw emotions set the tone for the rest of the night.
By the time the doors opened for the show, the line to enter the memorial already stretched around the block. Friends and fans who had been touched by the Yellow Dogs' international journey to make their music gathered to pay their respects. The crowd was treated to varied musical offerings ranging from James Chance’s sax throwdown to Mitra Sunara’s dulcimer-laden 60’s Iranian pop standards. One of the highlights of the evening was the appearance of visionary artist and activist Shirin Neshat, who brought the plight of the young Iranian artist to the forefront. She took the opportunity to plead for healing through art and asked the world to continue to celebrate their lives and music of Ali, Arash and Soroush. She even read a message from David Byrne, who tipped a cap to the Yellow Dogs gritty dance hit, Molly. Kyp Malone of TVOTR fame talked about how humbled he was to contribute to the cause and stressed that the only possible silver lining one could draw from this senseless loss was the strength of this unique music-loving community. Additional notable performances included Nada Surf as well as Habibi, Dirty Fences, Luke Temple and Sal P & the 178 Improvisation Product.
Everyone in attendance seemed to have their own story about the genuine sweetness and humor of one of the victims. You couldn’t walk more than a few feet without seeing a tear-filled embrace. Hundreds of people from all walks of life came by to pay their respects to a group of immensely talented individuals taken far before their time. If only it hadn’t taken the loss of these innocent young pioneers to remind us how much we take our creative freedom for granted. If you are touched by their story or music, please donate to their victim’s fund.