Red Rock Show a success at All-Star Weekend

by Lorne Chan |

Fans were still covered in glitter as they celebrated well into the night, with an impromptu dance party breaking out. It was no championship celebration, rather Matt Bonner’s Rock On Foundation Alt Star Party, a benefit that turned out to be one of New York City’s hottest tickets on Friday.

Indie rockers the Hold Steady were the headliners and Win Butler, lead singer of the Grammy-winning band Arcade Fire, rushed over to play a DJ set shortly after he played in the Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. In a nod to last week’s Grammy Awards, Butler mashed up Beck’s “Loser” with Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks.”

A sold-out crowd packed the 575-capacity venue for the show, dubbed the Alt Star Party, which sold out of tickets in four minutes.

As hundreds of rock fans danced, Bonner’s benefit was. Proceeds went to the Rock On Foundation, a non-profit started by Bonner and his brother, Luke, which supports youth arts and sports programs.

“Part of our initiative is to do things in a new and different way,” Bonner said. “We said let’s flip the script. Let’s do indie rock at All-Star weekend and we’re going for it.”

Through his love of music, Bonner has become the NBA’s unofficial ambassador of indie rock.

Rolling Stone interviewed Bonner leading up to the event. The New York Times had a reporter at the Alt Star Party, held in the middle of All-Star Weekend and New York Fashion Week.

“Like any cross-section of culture, there are a lot of indie rockers who like basketball,” said Vampire Weekend’s Chris Tomson, who played a DJ set on Friday. “Matt’s a true music fan, and we love that he’s taken an in interest in using music to support a great cause.”

While Tim Duncan is the only Spur in Sunday’s All-Star Game, Bonner is one of a group of Spurs participating in All-Star Weekend events. Bonner also participated in events for the NBA FIT initiative and held a fundraising dinner for the Rock On Foundation on Thursday.

Marco Belinelli is participating in Saturday’s Three-Point Contest, representing his home and his heritage by wearing sneakers in the colors of Italy’s flag with “Family First” inscribed on the shoes. Tiago Splitter is helping further the NBA’s international reach, participating in a Basketball Without Borders Camp. And Danny Green is back in his home state of New York, hosting a show featuring No. 1-charting rapper Rick Ross.

“I think it’s a great message for kids that we’re a team that sticks together,” Bonner said, “But we also have the individualism to follow our passions and we support each other,”

The Rock On Foundation has contributed to youth, arts and sports programs, including the restoration of an outdoor court in Bonner’s hometown of Concord, New Hampshire. This was the second year of the Alt Star Party.

Luke Bonner noted that New Hampshire Institute of Art student Brittany Inglese will receive a scholarship from Rock On after she won a contest to design a logo for the Alt Star Party. Rock On also is contributing proceeds from the weekend’s events to support the Voices of Change Initiative run by the MacDowell Colony, a New Hampshire artist residency.

On March 20, Rock On Night will come to the AT&T Center when the Spurs play the Celtics, with musical acts hand-picked by the Bonners performing and proceeds going to the Rock On Foundation.

“We’re still a pretty new foundation, so this support so far is incredible,” Matt Bonner said. “We’re just trying to do something good for arts, music and sports for the community. Those are three things we’re passionate about, and we just want to do what we can to help.”

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