Jonathan and Stephanie Hughes' Anniversary/Love Grows Benefit featuring Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray, Boolow, Worship This, 25 Minutes to Go, Southside Punx and Gore Gore Luchadores
The Milestone Club
July 22, 2011
The Deal: Milestone owner Jonathan Hughes and his wife, Stephanie, probably share the most intense love I have ever come into contact with. Just being next to them, you can feel that passion radiating from their connection. Five years ago, these two lovebirds tied the knot and have been going strong ever since. In celebration of their anniversary, The Milestone held a fantastic benefit show with a cap off of the Gore Gore Luchadores wrestling for Love Grows, a Uganda-based charity organization founded by Andy and Michelle Wilson. I was sure the night would be one to remember for some time. However, I didn't realize that it would be so extremely awesome.
The Good: Strange, but understandable, the show started at 8:30 p.m. and under the assumption it would the typical 9:00 show, I arrived late and missed an act that I heard raving reviews of. Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray were described in mystical tales of polymusical feats and immense talent. I am horrendously bummed that I missed them and I will make sure to see them next time they come around.
I arrived just in time to see Boolow and my face immediately began melting to their mind-bogglingly awesome hybrid of traditional metal and punk rock. Hailing from Shelby, these are dudes that came out of the woodwork to rock people's eardrums like none other. Their sick, thrashy goodness seized us all, slamming the delight into our ears brutally. Their fast leads into intense breakdowns are comparable to the greatest days of Metallica (before they sold out). With the screeching punkish vocals intertwined with heavy lows, we all stood in a trance fixating on how fluid and beautifully executed their music was. As if their music wasn't entertaining enough, the sheer crude nature of their stage presence and communication with the audience is worthy of a show in itself. “Fuck you hippy bitches” seemed to be the phrase of the night and although I shudder when I am called I hippy, it was hilarious enough to approve.
Worship This took the stage next and while they were less heavy, they kept the energy up with their original hybrid of pop punk and indie. Carrying on with catchy beats and emotional riffs, I was impressed by their style and range. Normally, I am not a fan of this genre of music but I must admit, this four piece is well orchestrated and brought me back to my teenage years, getting into trouble with an optimistic outlook on life and an uncertain future. As they played, the club began to pack out with sweaty dudes and chicks toasting to Jonathan and Stephanie. The love began to spread and the vibe was something special, it was apparent, it had become family night at the Milestone.
25 Minutes to Go immediately caught the attention of the crowd with the man of the night center stage and the lovely Mrs. Hughes in the back corner, next to the amps, adoring her man. While we thought their anniversary was the only event of change and progress of the night, Jonathan got the attention of the audience and put the spotlight on guitarist Andy Wilson to make a special announcement. Explaining his love for his recently formed non-profit organization, Love Grows and the dedication that comes with it, Andy let us know he will be leaving the band to pursue his philanthropy. With tears welting up in his eyes, Jonathan began to express how dear Andy has been to the maturity and growth of 25 Minutes to Go, sending love and professing that Andy had brought the band back into the light from a dark, dark place.
With this night being Andy's last show, you better believe the whole band fervently rocked it out like none other. I don't even think that their performance could be compared to any other night I've seen them. I would attribute it to the beautiful Stephanie Hughes as an addition to the stage but they were just feeling it and sending Andy off right. It was a well-balanced mixture of new and old, ending the set with “Amen” and of course, their notorious, Milestone family favorite, their cover of “Friends in Low Places.” The love in the room was so beautiful. People began tearing up and holding each other, fixating on the last moments of 25 Minutes to Go as we know them now. I've gotta say that I am sad to see Andy go, but I am glad that he is pursuing his heart's goals and helping so many children that would not have sustenance otherwise.
After we took in the information and sadness that was tossed at us, Southside Punx began playing a killer set that turned the entire floor into a sea of chaos. Sweaty, shirtless bodies flailed at each other, letting out aggression and getting lost in the sweet punk jams being tossed in our direction. I have never seen them play a bad set; their music is solid and original but true to the roots of punk rock. Towards the end of their set, as per request by the Hughes' they covered an old time favorite, The Cars' “Just What I Needed.” As the audience belted out the lyrics, Jonathan and Stephanie shared a special moment together, almost making me nauseous with the love they displayed. Then we all realized it was past 12:00 a.m. and officially Jonathan's birthday. Double Blammo.
While everything was getting situated and set up for the Gore Gore Luchadores, I found out I was in the first match so I had to get changed, taped up and ready to go. While I know my match and the rest of the ladies' kicked some serious ass and got the audience screaming, the finale was really where it was at. Jonathan and Stephanie Hughes, in formal wear, wedding-esque attire got in the ring (after Jonathan removed his formal shirt to unveil a Stone Cold shirt). I have seen some crazy moves before but these two serious took the cake. It was a well thought out match. With Stephanie getting tossed around like an angry hot potato, she whooped his ass, pinning him with a look on her face that would make you wanna report spousal abuse. At the end of the match, they kissed it out and we all cheered them on. It is a special thing to witness love so true that they can show it off by beating each other's asses in a wrestling match.
The Bad: We will miss your killer guitar skills and heartwarming personality, Andy. We hate to see you leave 25 Minutes to Go, but we're glad you are living your dream.
The Verdict: I will never forget this night. Between the true love radiating from Jonathan and Stephanie Hughes and around the room, the face melting jams, hot chicks (and dude) wrestling and the fact the money was being donated to Love Grows, I couldn't have felt better vibes. Love is a beautiful thing and it certainly was present this night, just as present as the talent displayed. The Milestone became a highly populated jovial vortex and I'm glad I was a part of it.