What an amazing night we had last night. I got to enjoy getting to know Josh Caterer better via dinner at an awesome mex place called La Velvet Margarita, and then attended the big benefit for Steelo from the Groovaloos. It was fun to have the full family in attendance with both Kyle and Madison joining me.

Josh is the singer/songwriter for the Smoking Popes – an awesome pop-alt-punk band. He’s got a VERY cool Christmas EP out called The Heart of Christmas. Josh is also the worship leader for Village Church out in the Chicago area.  We had a great chat about music including the differences he sees between performing as an artist and leading as a worship leader.  There aren’t a lot of artists who have fronted a secular alt pop punk band for 15 years and also serve as a worship leader. It was very interesting to hear that he’s not listening to much of the new music scene but really invested more in classic artists.  I’ve always loved live music and so listening to him share about what it’s like from the performer’s side was very cool.  I wish I had recorded our chat to transcribe here, but I wasn’t thinking about writing about it.  I was bummed not to be able to catch his show last night because the club wasn’t hip to my 15 year old attending.  Both albums are VERY worth sticking in your player on repeat for a while: Josh’s The Heart of Christmas EP and the latest Smoking Popes’ This Is Only A Test.

If you are into the dance crew scene like I am, then this benefit was one of the moments of a lifetime for you too. At least it will be when you get the DVD.  The benefit for Steelo was a star studded event with many of the top dance crews in the world either performing or in attendance: Jabbawockeez (ABDC and now in Vegas,) Groovaloos (NBC’s Superstars of Dance,)  Team iLuminate (America’s Got Talent,) Beat Freaks (ABDC,) Twitch (SYTYCD,) and many other outstanding talents.  Wayne Brady also came out and did a great retro compilation of dance that was a ton of fun.  Nigel Lythgoe and Adam Shankman were in the audience, as was Gwen Stefani briefly.  Poreotics, guys from Quest Crew and many, many others were also in attendance.  The silent auction had some great stuff from No Doubt, Gwen, Britney Spears and others.  To see what Team iLuminate does, in person from the front row, was indescribable.  After seeing them for weeks on AGT, I thought that the television would have made them appear better because of the filtering of the light making the dancers disappear more easily, but in person it was even better. We really could not see the crew during their routine. If you haven’t seen these crews, you should hit YouTube for every single one of them.

It was truly amazing to see the effect Steelo has had on his fellow dancers in the industry (no small thing to tour with Gwen Stefani) and in his church, Oasis Church.  His 444 focus was clearly evident: 4 God, 4 Dance, 4 Love. You can see pics of his ongoing recovery at http://www.steelo444.com. Dive in and get to know him a bit via the web, and help his family if you are able. For those who don’t know, he suffered a total of 4 brain aneurysms in June, and miraculously survived but is recovering with extreme effort as he learns to talk and move all over again. It was crazy good to see him stand up out of his wheel chair and smile even making some small arm movements in play toward a dance move.   The freestyle battle at the end of the benefit was such a talent-fest that some of the guys in audience couldn’t stand to stay in their seats, hopping up on stage to show their stuff.  Congrats and blessings to Bradley and Joanie Rapier who put together this amazing event.

I’ve posted just a few pretty rough quality pics in a Facebook album.  The whole event was shot for a documentary that will also benefit Steelo’s family. I’ll post on that when it’s available.