South Charlotte

Enjoy music and help the homeless

Live Out Loud, Give Out Loud, a concert event 2-11 p.m. Sept. 17 at uptown Charlotte's North Carolina Music Factory, will feature 17 bands on three stages, with Charlotte's Paper Tongues as the headliner.

Proceeds will benefit The Free Store and Samaritan's Feet, two local nonprofits that help the homeless.

Paper Tongues lead singer Aswan North has been active in helping Charlotte's homeless population since moving to Charlotte in 1999.

North spent the first five years of his life in an orphanage, in a group home and as part of the Department of Social Services system. He then was adopted and raised by loving parents - a Marine Corps drill sergeant and a housewife - in Jacksonville, N.C.

North played trombone from sixth through 10th grade. He began writing rap at 16 and started writing songs and music at 21.

At 18, North taught himself to play piano, then guitar, drums and base guitar.

Once in Charlotte, North spent five years playing improvisations on Saturday nights with other musicians on the corner of Trade and Tryon streets. Uptown's homeless population would gather to listen.

It was during those sessions North met the band members with whom he would form Paper Tongues in 2007.

"We played with a message of hope and redemption to bring change to the lives of those who showed up broken," said North.

"After about two years of doing this, me and my buddies started taking in four homeless people every two weeks, letting them live in our house and giving them clothes and getting them connected to any communities that would help feed them or help them spiritually or mentally.

"We helped them with government (resources)," said North.

"We did that for a year and lived an experience we'll never forget. That's why I'm doing this event."

Concertgoers can expect songs from Paper Tongues' first album, including "Get Higher" and "Ride to California."

The band also will play barefoot, in honor of charity Samaritan's Feet, during a stripped-down folk version of their new song "Walls are Falling Down."

Samaritan's Feet - founded by Charlotte resident Manny Ohonme - provides new shoes to children and adults in need locally and globally.

Event Coordinator Bryant Brown and Attorney Robert Forquer of Law Avania planned the event. Forquer is co-owner of The Free Store, at the corner of North Davidson and 15th streets.

The Free Store's mission is to provide basic clothing for the homeless and a place for people to eat, talk, spend time together and build beneficial relationships. For example, Forquer is helping a homeless artist take classes to learn to read and complete his GED. Additionally, the woman who runs the store, once homeless herself, now is using what she has learned to mentor other homeless people.

Money from the concert will help establish a legal clinic at the store to help folks access Social Security, disability and veterans benefits, said Forquer.

Brown said the hope is to sell 2,500 tickets for the concert.

"We've assembled bands that are diverse enough to appeal to a large audience with several demographics," said Brown.

Musical genres will include Indy, hip-hop, punk, ska, metal, alternative and more, he said.

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