>> When news hit the street that Tim Avery was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, the entire Rochester music scene was shocked. For those who don’t know, Tim, by all accounts, has not just crossed paths with everyone — Tim has paved paths for everyone. He is, without a doubt, the most influential person here in Rochester’s music scene. For Billy Martin, a close friend of Tim’s, standing by was simply not an option. In only a short few months, he organized a massive event bringing together the best bands in the area, all to support Tim’s ongoing cancer treatment. That event happened this past Saturday at Anthology under the name, ROC4Tim. The event was sold out by the time the doors were open. Local businesses raffled off prizes and over 14 artists including Joywave, Kopps, and Mikaela Davis all played back-to-back without soundchecks. No matter where you were in the room, you could feel just how much passion Rochester has for music.

The power and talent of every band was staggering considering the size of the line-up. Every artist who came up, from Druse to Harmonica Lewinski, played incredible sets. Total Yuppies played some new, very different tracks, Pleistocene rocked a cover of Secret Pizza’s “Shower song”, and King Buffalo ripped the house apart with their massive gritty, heavy-psych sound. By the end of the night, the entire venue was packed to the brim. I eagerly stood up front for 5 hours to finally catch Joywave live in the flesh. After Kopps, Billy Martin came up to greet the crowd and introduce everyone to the man of the night, Tim Avery.

The outpour of love from the community was only overshadowed by the love Tim sent out to us when he stood up there on stage Saturday. Pushed up against the barricade, I saw genuine awe and happiness radiate from Tim’s body as he spoke to the cheering crowd. He almost couldn’t make it to the show, as a chemo round was scheduled for the day but, thanks to some results that showed low platelet counts, he was able to come. “This is the best christmas present I have ever had!” He gave a shout out to his oncologist who was in the crowd and reminded everyone to be a positive impact on the community, even in these troubling times.

I teared up a bit. I could see the toll the treatment had taken on his body but that didn’t matter. He was up there for us again and he had a song to play for us. Against Me’s “8 Full Hours of Sleep”. The crowd sang along as Tim belted out the tune. Afterwards, Joywave came on to play a killer set and the night ended with Harmonica Lewinsky (after the person next to me won coffee from Java’s for a year.) The power of this community continues to humble me day after day. Events like this continue to remind me that Rochester has the best music scene in the entire country, if not the world. It’s a night that I think everyone in the crowd that night, will never forget. <<