It all begins with awareness. A few months ago I did an in-depth interview with Maelstrom Magnet touching on the stigma surrounding depression and anxiety. But there are other things in this world that have equally undeserved stigmas, and I’d like to do my part to help shine a light on those issues.

It’s important to remember that everywhere in our lives we are surrounded by people with an abundance of differences. But, we are all human beings. The sooner we learn to accept that, the sooner we can all make this a better world. I know, soapbox right? I’m supposed to be writing about an amazing show that I got to participate in a few weeks ago, but I want to make sure that everyone understands about this mission that is very dear to my heart.

I’m going to start by introducing you to a friend of mine who is doing his part to make things better for future generations.

Brandon Hire is a man who could be described as many things, but never have I ever heard him be called dispassionate. I have known him for many years and he has never been one to hide his opinions or not stand up for what he believes in. He put together the United in Concert Autism Awareness Fundraiser show a few months ago with one main goal: to spread awareness for people on the spectrum who cannot advocate for themselves.

“My twin daughters have autism, and it’s a 24-hour caregiving shift. A lot of times when we go out there are people who are kind and, at the very least, understanding. But far too often we are met with sideways looks, rude comments and gestures. It’s unfair to my daughters that they have to deal with it simply for being different.”

The autism spectrum. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. You might have a friends who live with autism, Aspergers or PDD. You might even have family members (I do, as well) who struggle with empathy and other daily routines that you might take for granted. With April being Autism Awareness Month, Hire wanted to put together a show not only for music, but to help raise funds and spread awareness.

“These are human beings, not a diagnosis,” he stressed. “If people understood what others on the spectrum have to deal with on a daily basis, and what it’s like to be a caregiver, there would be less of a push to take resources away from those who care for the disabled.”

Credit: J Courtney / MIMC

He told me a story about how he’s had to personally speak with police officers everywhere that he and his wife have lived to explain to them that in certain situations, his daughters may become overstimulated and non-compliant with officers or others around them. They might even throw themselves on the ground and ignore all outside stimuli. It is simply how they deal with the situation, and he doesn’t want anyone to be harmed simply for being unable to understand a situation.

As it stands, Hire has worked in the music scene for many years and knows a lot of other bands who are passionate about the same cause, and were able to give their time to help with the show. One of them was Henodus, who I interviewed in March and had come to review that night. They were joined by Suicide Toyz, Infidel and The Mighty Bristlecone. Bethel Road Pub was the destination and the night included several raffles and informative speeches on the spectrum.

Credit: J Courtney / MIMC

Suicide Toyz opened up the musical side of things with a heavy amount of noise and a no-nonsense attitude. The trio blasted all of us with edgy riffs and even featured covers from The Beastie Boys and Marilyn Manson’s version of Sweet Dreams. Infidel was the heaviest act of the evening who brought thunderous discord to the crowded pub. They threw in their own cover of Stone Temple Pilot’s Dead and Bloated and featured a bassist who nearly pulled the strings off of his axe with his speed. The Mighty Bristlecone featured the most intriguing name and sound of the night; something like a mix between Candlebox and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

And then there was Henodus, led by “Big Daddy” Bo Corbin on guitar and vocals. Jayson Arcos stood opposite on guitar, with Trent Boham between them on bass. Josh Spruillo was a last-minute replacement on the drums. The boys opened up their set with their first single, Here Come The Ants. It’s a groovy number with an opening riff that continues to bounce through the entire set. You can tell that Corbin was born to be a front-man with the amount of flair he shows while playing and singing.

Credit: J Courtney / MIMC

Second we had Knife in the Spoon Drawer, which is easily my favorite song title ever. It had a funkier feel to it, with Boham and Spruillo keeping the groove tight. Corbin finished the song off with a piercing solo and took a moment of his own to share about his dealing with the autism spectrum.

Next was Medicine, which stood alone for its instrumental prowess, and the band segued straight into Careful With The Mic, which was the funkiest sound they could have possibly created with the amount of heavy sludge they piled on top. Corbin’s signature wail shined bright on this number as the trio of stringsmen nodded their heads in unison as they played.

Under Sea Level started off slow but got heavier as it progressed and was apparently too heavy for its own britches as Spruillo blasted his cymbal right off the kit. You just don’t see that every day, but it hearkens back to what I always say… you just never know what you’re going to see at a live show in Columbus.

Credit: J Courtney / MIMC

Speaking of things you (almost) never see, Boham put down his bass and unearthed a saxophone for Driving Nails Like, bringing a new level of groove to a group that already knows how to throw it down. Lastly we had Snakeskin, which brought back the crunchy guitars and kept the groove flowing. Spruillo almost knocked over his toms and cymbals on this number, but the three in front of him kept everything cool as cucumbers.

It ended up being a really cool night for music, and between the raffles and the door donations, over seven hundred dollars were raised that night. All of the funds went to the Magpie Foundation, a fund started to help the families of special needs children. I am certain that anyone who attended got at least a rudimentary education on autism, over-stimulation and other things that may affect people on the spectrum. I personally was overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity and caring showed by all who attended.

Setlist – Henodus

  1. Here Come The Ants
  2. Knife in the Spoon Drawer
  3. Medicine
  4. Careful With The Mic
  5. Under Sea Level
  6. Driving Nails Like
  7. Snakeskin