The Ries Brothers were driving to a gig in Corpus Christi, Texas, when they heard about the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
"We played Fort Lauderdale like two days before it happened, so it was really bizarre," said Charlie Ries, the Belleair Bluffs duo's drummer and singer. "It was really bizarre, really sad."
On Friday, Charlie and his brother and guitarist Kevin Ries are heading back that way to help out. The Ries Brothers will join pop singer Austin Mahone, classic rockers Saigon Kick and viral stars Jack and Jack as one of the top-billed artists at a benefit concert organized by Revolution Live, a club in Fort Lauderdale. One hundred percent of ticket sales and 50 percent of bar sales will benefit the families of victims and first responders.
Organizers reached out to acts with a Florida connection, and the Ries Brothers have played lots of charity shows in the past.
"We were just glad that we could do something to help out," Charlie said. "It definitely hits close to home. Our manager lives five minutes from that school, so we're down there all the time now. So it's weird. You think about if you've ever played for any of those kids in the past."
It hit especially close to home considering the brothers aren't far removed from a high school campus themselves – Charlie is 22 and Kevin is 19 and still a high school senior who takes classes online.
"We're always down to support our home state, and it's a great benefit to be a part of," Kevin said.
This is just the latest notable gig for the Ries Brothers, who just wrapped a tour opening for G. Love and Special Sauce and who will play the Gasparilla Music Festival in March. Coincidentally, also on Wednesday they were announced to be part of SunFest, a huge festival in West Palm Beach featuring Pitbull, Zedd, Nick Jonas and more.
The show is at 6 p.m. Friday at Revolution Live, with performers spread across three stages. Tickets start at $20. Click here for details.
— Jay Cridlin