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PHOTOS: Rockin’ for Veterans ’22

Jonathan Robinson, right, and bandmates Rob Dufresne (drums) and Joe Felice (bass) open the sixth Rockin' for Veterans concert at the Rockingham VFW on Sept. 17. See more photos below. Photos by William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Three local bands cranked up the volume at VFW Post 4203 Saturday night for the sixth Rockin’ for Veterans benefit concert.

Jonathan Robinson, a Hamlet-born guitarist who spent time in Nashville as a hired gun, took the stage first with his band.

Robinson and bassist Joe Felice switched off on vocals belting out blues and rock covers from B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and Dire Straits, as well as performing an original, “Tennessee Rain,” which was released on Robinson’s first EP.

Drummer Rob Dufresne was the only veteran musician on the stage that night, having served as a Green Beret in the U.S. Army Special Forces.
Robinson previously performed at Rockin’ for Veterans in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Next up was Charlotte-area-based Hardwired, featuring Richmond County natives Bub Barrett and Philip Neal and Anson County’s Mark McRae on drums.

True to the band’s name, they blasted through a set of hard rock and heavy metal covers. Guest drummer Virgil Bowler sat in on a few songs and Aftermath guitarist Jeremy Wright joined them, trading licks with Neal.

Hardwired has been a Rockin’ with Veterans staple, only missing 2018.

Headlining the show was Aftermath, fronted by Franklin Branch, rolling through two sets of tunes ranging from Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran” and Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love,” to more heavy hitters by Led Zeppelin, Rush, Stone Temple Pilots and Black Sabbath.

This was the band’s second time playing the beneft.

With turnabout being fair play, Neal plugged in to lay down lead runs alongside Wright and Matthew Davis, while drummer Jerry Davis and bassist Brian Carter kept the rhythm. Megan Bradely, who sang with Branch in a previous band, sang harmony on Grand Funk Railroad’s “American Band.”


Adam McInnis ran sound for the concert.

Rockin’ for Veterans began in 2016 as a fundraiser by the VFW Auxiliary, with proceeds going to provide care packages to local service members stationed overseas.

The show was canceled in 2020 due to government restrictions in response to the COVID pandemic.

The Auxiliary also organizes the annual Veterans Day Parade, scheduled this year for Nov. 5.

See below for more photos from the concert.

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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.