Local Bands Come Together To Benefit Emerald Coastkeeper At Rock For The Coast 2010
By Jim McGruder
The oil spill in our Gulf of Mexico has devastated our region and radically changed our way of life forever. We, as a people, are beaten down and worn out from the bad news and the stress of picking up the pieces. Sometimes, it might be enough to make one feel helpless and in doubt as to whether there is anything they can do.
This feeling is shared by so many residents along this beautiful stretch of American coastline, but don’t lose hope just yet. There is always something you can do to lend a hand. It’s kind of like what Edward Norton’s character said in his film “Death To Smoochy”: “You can’t change the world, but you can make a dent.”
With that in mind, several local rock, heavy metal and punk bands have decided to do something to give back to the beach that has always been there for them the only way they know how: through music.
“Don’t be fooled into thinking that the effects of the disaster have ended. We need to bind together as a community to protect one another and our environment, and Rock for the Coast 2010 is a great way to connect,” says Bryan Kelly, front man of For Shame, one of the opening bands.
And Bryan isn’t the only one who feels this way. All of the bands involved are just as serious about breaking down a few walls and showing this community that they want to do what they can to help.
“This isn’t about any certain scene. It doesn’t matter whose band is cooler, or who is heavier, or whatever it might be. All of these bands answered the call without hesitation when this idea came about, because they all believe in this cause,” explains event organizer, Rob “Bubbs” Harris.
“There are a few big festivals going on to benefit our shores, and we’re certainly not trying to take away from any of those great events. Some of these bands might not have had a chance to play a big show like that, but they all wanted to do their part all the same, so we decided to do our own thing and raise some dough for our local water keeper.
“Every one of these bands are friends of mine who feel just as strongly as I do about helping Emerald Coastkeeper receive the necessary funding to ensure that we can continue enjoying our water and our beaches.”
Rock for the Coast, which was originally scheduled for late June, was pushed back for a while—and for a while, it was uncertain as to whether or not Harris would be able to turn his idea into a reality.
“We had another venue ready to do it and a ton of bands lined up, but the place closed down and cancelled the show. It was through a mutual friend that I met Joe Abston from Hopjack’s Pizza Kitchen and Taproom. He loved the idea and told me he would love to do it at Vinyl Music Hall, even though it was still in the middle of development. Once the venue was finished, as promised, Joe and booking agent Chris Wilkes contacted me and we got rolling on this project.”
The first mission was to secure a good organization to work with; both Harris and Abston already had Emerald Coastkeeper in mind.
“The choice was pretty obvious really,” Harris claims. “Joe said he had done some good things with them before, and I spoke with Coastkeeper Chasidy Fisher Hobbs about it and she was thrilled. The next step was finding the bands.”
Finding acts to play wasn’t as big of a problem as one might think. In fact, Harris had bands constantly asking about the benefit and when it was going to happen.
“By the time I looked to book the show, I reached out to 11 specific acts, and every one of them said ‘yes’ within the day. You wouldn’t believe how many bands I had to turn down who wanted to play, but I only had so many slots open and I wanted to keep with the rock vibe. I would love to do more, but I have to see how this one turns out—but in my mind, it is a huge success already.
“We have a chance to make a difference here and prove to the community that the punk rock kids and the head bangers care just as much about protecting and conserving our beautiful beaches and this wonderful Gulf Coast that we call home. There will also be some raffles and other fundraisers in order to make as much as we can for our non-profit.”
All of the acts that have signed on to play Rock for the Coast 2010 are from right here along the Gulf Coast and are playing entirely for free in order to ensure that as much of the overhead cost is eliminated as possible and the money raised can go directly to the cause.
Each band has its own particular sound and style, which will make for an interesting and exciting bill. Some of the participants include Scream Out Loud, ska heroes Diversity is an Old Wooden Ship, indie punk phenoms The Spanx, and the ultra-hilarious hip-hop/comedy trio Unnatural Soundz.
Co-headlining the event will be This Day Will Tell, who recently signed to Indianola Records for the October release of their debut full-length “Too Good To Be True,” and Below the Stitch, a beloved local act featuring AJ Fratto, who recently went on an extensive tour with Queensryche as the face of the “American Soldier” album.
“I think that this benefit show for Emerald Coastkeeper is an extraordinary idea,” adds Fratto. “I hope that people understand why it’s important to do whatever we can to help, no matter how big or small. The rest of Below the Stitch and I are proud to be a part of this, as I’m sure all of the acts are. This is going to be cool, and it couldn’t be for a better cause.”
THE BEST PART
Rock for the Coast is already a great thing for the exhilaration of our community, but the best part has been saved for the end of this article. As it turns out, renowned singer/songwriter Jack Johnson has awarded matching grants to all seven water keepers along the Gulf of Mexico, which promises to match funds raised by the water keepers until Oct. 15. This is good news for everyone involved with this project.
Rock for the Coast 2010 may be a showcase of local bands, but to Harris, it’s as big as it gets. “I’m floored by all of the support from the bands and the community. I’m not doing this to make any money. I’m not doing this for any kind of recognition. I’m just a guy who loves his home.
“The Gulf of Mexico has always been there for me. She needs me now, and I plan on answering her call. I couldn’t be more thankful for how everything has come together.”
ROCK FOR THE COAST 2010
WHEN: Doors open at 12:30 p.m., shows begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox Place
COST: $10, all ages (although some bands will showcase explicit content)
DETAILS: sinistralentertainment.com, or vinylmusichall.com
2:45-3:15 p.m.—For Shame
3:30-4 p.m.—The Spanx
4:15-4:45 p.m.—The Helvetica Effect
5-5:30 p.m.—Forever’s Calling
5:45-6:15 p.m.—Scream Out Loud
6:30-7 p.m.—Unnatural Soundz
7:15-7:45 p.m.—Diversity is an Old Wooden Ship
8-8:30 p.m.—Drayton Sawyer
8:45-9:30 p.m.—This Day Will Tell
9:45-11 p.m.—Below the Stitch