Simpson Housing Services hosted their annual Music 4 Shelter benefit concert at the Fillmore Minneapolis. Bringing together local performers including Nur-D and The Suburbs, this unique concert inspired action through a night of powerful live music.
For over four decades, Simpson Housing Services has been a leading nonprofit that helps people experiencing homelessness. With key programs including emergency shelter, supportive housing programs, and developmental educational services for children, the nonprofit has a profound community impact. With every dollar earned going to support their programs, attendees were able to rock out for a good cause.
Curating the vibes throughout the night was DJ Sophia Eris. Known for her time as Lizzo’s DJ and a member of the iconic local group GRRRL PRTY, Sophia Eris was proud to be returning to the benefit concert for the second time.
“I know for a fact how much shelter matters in your life,” Sophia shared in a Music in Minnesota podcast. “Having a form of peace is what shelter provides. Your whole life revolves around that… If I can give that to anyone else, I would be happy to do that.”
Throughout the night, attendees were encouraged to make gifts. Not only were they treated to live music, but also stories of lived experience through powerful videos and speakers. Additionally, the evening included a silent auction, games, and more.
Taking the stage early on was Lady Midnight. Performing an intimate set, she ushered calming vibes which perfectly set the tone of the night. Playing some tracks off her upcoming new album, she stood as a confident and powerful performer.
Following her performance came iconic Twin Cities band The Suburbs. With their local legacy and years of experience, seeing them live is sort of a right of passage among the Twin Cities music scene. I confess, this was my first time seeing them live.
Before the show, my father in law took notice of the poster for this concert on my fridge, beaming with excitement. Turns out he saw them a bunch of times when he attended Saint Cloud State back in the late 70s. Additionally, well traveled music fans at my office told me stories of how great their shows were.
I was not disappointed. Even as they’ve aged, The Suburbs stand to be one of the most energetic bands I’ve ever seen. The group had everyone in the audience moving, regardless of age.
I am reminded of a recent Panic! At The Disco song titled “Local God”, a song about a performer who may not be known nationally, but has become a legend in their own space. The impact the band has made on the scene runs deep. I felt honored to see them live, and take their photos.
Headlining the night was the infectiously positive and incredibly brilliant Nur-D. Backed by his “friendly neighborhood Spider-Band,” the stage was packed with well over 13 musicians.
“Housing justice is the foundation,” Nur-D shared in a Music in Minnesota podcast. “When you don’t have a safe place to live, when you don’t have an affordable place to call home, you are prey to so many other problems.”
A perfect choice for this fundraiser, Nur-D and crew helped spread joy and positivity with songs like “Big Boi”, as well as incredibly thought provoking songs about racial injustice and police brutality. His song “Mr. Officer” was one of the most powerful performances I’ve seen this year.
With a quickly rising star, Nur-D is not just Minneapolis’ “next big thing”. He already is the biggest star in the cities. With his song “Glorious” hitting the airwaves, and his 2023 album being one of the best records of the year, it’s only a matter of time before he blows up nationwide.
Overall, Music 4 Shelter was more than a benefit concert. It was a community celebration of art and community. This was Music in Minnesota’s second year supporting the event, and there is a good reason for that.
Personally, I work in housing justice as my full time job. Simpson Housing Services is a partner of the non-profit I work at, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative. I’ve seen firsthand how urgent our state’s housing crisis is, and I’ve seen firsthand how Simpson Housing Services works to address this.
There is nothing more important than having a home. When we come together as a community to address our housing crisis, we’re helping our neighbors and creating a better Minnesota for all of us. I am so proud to support the work Simpson Housing Services does and I eagerly look forward to next year’s Music 4 Shelter concert.