“Last Night At The Union” Song Raises Funds For Musicians

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On Sunday, Nov. 16, flames erupted on West Union Street in Athens, just hours after local band Blond finished their set at The Union Bar and Grill.

The bar suffered substantial damages, and a statement from its Facebook page read simply, "The Union as we knew it is no more."

Fortunately, no one was in the bar at the time of the fire. However, two bands lost expensive musicial equipment left at the venue to be picked up the next day.

Blond lost all of their instruments (valued at $3,000) to the fire, and Yellow Springs band Speaking Suns lost a keyboard (valued at $1,500).

For many bands, the news that the popular venue had burned down was met with shock and sadness. Ethan Wehrly, Blond’s bass player, described waking up to the news.

"I felt like it was a bad dream I was having because of how surreal the situation was," he said. "Especially for the fact we had just had an awesome show there just hours before."

In order to raise money for Blond and Speaking Suns, another Ohio band is reaching out. Cincinnati-based Injecting Strangers was also on the bill that night at The Union, although the members did not lose any of their gear.

It was a mixture of sadness, shock and survivor’s guilt that prompted the members of Injecting Strangers to write "Last Night at The Union," a song that is being sold for $2 per download to raise money for the two bands in need.

The song, according to the group's Bandcamp page, "Is the story of our awesome experience at this venue."

"To be honest, we initially chose to write this song as a coping mechanism for our own uneasy feelings following the event, without any thought of releasing it to the public," said Injecting Strangers bassist Dylan Oseas. "However, once we learned how much gear Blond and Speaking Suns lost, we decided it might be helpful to post [the song] as a donation-based single, with all funds going towards repurchasing the amps, guitars, drums and the keyboard lost in the fire."

According to Oseas, the song has raised more than $200, but he’s hoping to raise more.

"Being in a band is tough enough on a good day, but near impossible without instruments," he said.

Injecting Strangers had only just met the members of Blond on the Saturday night before the fire.

"Our relationship with them is awesome; that was the first time we had met [or] seen them play," Wehlry said. "We plan to play more shows with them in the future."

For now, The Union is closed due to damages. Meanwhile, Blond is scheduled to perform at Blind Bobs in Dayton on Dec. 6. and plans to take part in upcoming benefits for The Union Bar and Grill.

"The more that friends, fans and the community can contribute, the sooner these bands can continue to tour and perform!" exclaimed Oseas.

"Last Night at the Union" is available at http://injectingstrangers.bandcamp.com.