DETROIT -- In a lyric from We Came As Romans' song "Taking Back Roots," the late Kyle Pavone wrote that "my home is in your heart."
"That's where Kyle Pavone is tonight," Jake Luhrs from August Burns Red said Sunday night, Aug. 28, at the Fillmore Detroit, "with every single person in this room."
There were about 1,500 Pavone and WCAR fans at the Fillmore for the Promise Me benefit for the Kyle Pavone Foundation recently established by his family. The emotional 18-song, 90-minute show featured a multitude of guest artists -- including fellow Detroit rockers I Prevail and members of bands such as Memphis May Fire, Born of Osiris, Crown the Empire, Set It Off, a reunited For Today and others, as well as a reunion of Iowa's For Today. Original WCAR drummer Eric Choi returned for a rendition of "To Plant a Seed," while I Prevail's Gabe Helguera and Nick Sampson, who co-produced WCAR's most recent album, "Cold Like War," joined the group for "Encoder."
Most of the performers had stories about Pavone, and many about his good humor and good hangs on the road -- though Crown the Empire's Andrew Velasquez recalled how Pavone pulled the plug and got him safely back to his hotel room in Australia after the partying had gone a bit too far. Set It Off's Cody Carson, meanwhile, saluted Pavone and WCAR for their support of Set It Off after his band signed to Equal Vision Records as labelmates;" 'Kyle Pavone and these guys set a standard for how people should be treated," Carson gushed.
"Kyle's favorite thing about music was how it brought people together," WCAR's other vocalist, Dave Stephens, told the crowd of about 1,500 at the Fillmore Detroit. "Kyle's life was so short, but this just shows how many people he reached and influenced. These songs meant the world to Kyle. This (venue) was his favorite place to be. He'd probably hate that we were all crying, but he wouldn't hate this many people being in this room...and he wouldn't have hated all his best friends being here and singing songs."
Others encouraged those in the audience to seek help when struggling with addiction, depression or other issues, while Pavone's father Vince said that the family established the foundation "to help musicians in their deepest, darkest hour." The organization has partnered with HelpNet, a mental health service in Battle Creek, Mich., which will provide five free therapy sessions with a referral, not only to musicians but also to techs and others in the industry.
"It's a grueling life," Vince Pavone -- who asked the Fillmore crowd text a "thank you" to his son's old cell phone number before the show -- told Billboard. "These people drop out of college and travel across the country in beat-up vans and sleep in car seats, if they sleep at all, and give a lot to chase their dreams. We want to provide some outlet for them to get help right away when they need it."
Pavone's mother, Caroline, and younger sister Isabel also addressed the crowd, the former noting that, "There are no words left for me to say...We just want to thank you for being (Pavone's) friends, his fans and his family...We love you. Kyle loves you." Isabel, meanwhile, admitted she "denied my brother's talent and success" for a time but did an about-face after revealing she was his sister during an internship this past summer in Austin, Texas. "You can imagine how proud I was of my brother -- all the way in Texas and my boss is fan-boying over my brother," she said.
Information about the Kyle Pavone Foundation and its services can be found at kylepavonefoundation.org.
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