Angel Maldonado, who DJs around Charleston under the name Luis Skye, seems to be in a bit of disbelief while talking about his wife, Britny, and the last year or so of their life. Britny was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia about a year ago and underwent a brutal month of chemotherapy followed by a two-month hospital stay.
"She was able to go into remission for about six months," Maldonado says, "and then we had some bloodwork done and they said the leukemia had come back, and it was coming back rapidly."
There was somehow even worse news in store when they began to discuss Britny's treatment options.
"They said this time the chemo wouldn't work, and that we would have to do a bone marrow transplant," Maldonado says. "They put her in MUSC and right now they're testing her family members for a donor as well as looking for people in general who might be a match. Once she gets the transplant she'll have to stay in the hospital at least 100 days, and she can't be more than 30 minutes away from MUSC for a long time."
- Proceeds from Beats for Britny go directly to Maldonado’s medical funds
Last year, after the initial diagnosis, a group of Maldonado's friends in the Charleston music scene put together a benefit for Britny. The event, which took place at the Pour House and was called Beats for Britny, featured Ben Fagan & the Holy City Hooligans, Matt Monday, and Damn Skippy, among others, and the Pour House donated all of the proceeds toward Britny's medical expenses.
Now, exactly one year later, those musicians are coming together again to help out one more time.
"I talked to Alex to at the Pour House to see if he had anything available and it just so happened that the date that he gave us is exactly one year from the last one," Maldonado says. "It's crazy how that worked out."
Maldonado will be hosting the event and doing a bit of DJ'ing in-between sets, and he says he's once again overwhelmed by efforts of his Charleston musician friends.
"These guys are all family," he says. "Everyone's been such a loving bunch and worked together so well. Matt was actually scheduled to fly out of the country that day, and at first when they gave him that date, he said, 'Man, I hate that but I'm not going to be available.' But then he postponed his flight to do this show. That shows you how close this community really is and how they stick together."
And as of right now, it looks like Britny herself might be able to attend the show, just like last year.
"She has good days and bad days," Maldonado says. "She wasn't supposed to be there last time, but she was. And she's determined to come this time. She's tough."
BEN FAGAN & THE HOLY CITY HOOLIGANS: Ben Fagan and his band are starting to run out of wall space of their awards and plaques. Fagan and the band have taken multiple City Paper awards (for Best Musician, Best Band, and Best Vocalist), and perhaps far more notably, they co-wrote the song "3am" on Meghan Trainor's triple-platinum 2015 album Title. Onstage, Fagan is a musical whirling dervish, moving from rapid-fire freestyle raps to smooth, soulful singing and playing multiple instruments. This isn't a one-man-show, though; The Holy City Hooligans blend skeletal-but-deep funk grooves a la JJ Grey & MOFRO with smooth pop hooks, doing some genre-hopping of their own to match Fagan's virtuosity.
- Jenna Jones
MATT MONDAY: A skillful emcee with a disarming, off-kilter flow, Matt Monday favors deep, spacey grooves and beats that pulse rather than pound. The bass will rattle your windows for sure, but the real depth is in Monday's flow, which staggers, bounces, and slides like a boxer in his prime. See his latest release, Filthy 2, for evidence of the powerful connections the emcee makes between art and local, real life observations.
- Jonathan Boncek file photo
DAMN SKIPPY: Where Matt Monday eases into a groove, Alex Veazey, a.k.a. Damn Skippy, can launch into a dizzyingly fast flow that could make your head spin. He can handle a good mid-tempo groove just fine, but once he launches into a tongue-tripping freestyle it's stunning in terms of skill and storytelling.
SHEED STAGGS: Sheed Staggs' just-out new EP My Life is five tracks that fit together like an extended suite. Over laid-back beats and a constantly shifting synth-and-samples background, Staggs plays with the tempo, slowing up and pushing forward within the songs' rhythms and knocking the tunes appealingly off-balance before hitting a confident, melodic chorus. It's a case of a rapper using the studio as an instrument, making his delivery part of a bigger picture.