This past weekend, Thee Parkside in San Francisco played host to the 2nd Annual Rock Out With Your Chalk Out benefit show. The proceeds from the show all went to the Miraloma Elementary and Blue Bear Music schools. The event began in the afternoon, with some of the school’s star pupils rocking out on stage. I was only able to catch the ‘adult’ portion of the event which began at around 8pm with Eric Melvin (The Melvinator) (NOFX) getting the crowd warmed up with his unique style of DJing, mashing up classic punk songs with different beats.
First acoustic act to the stage was Travis Hayes. His heartfelt lyrics, powerful voice, and resonating guitar really set the tone for the night. It was to be a reflective, introspective night with some great acoustic noise. Acoustic shows are always a bit different for me, as I typically saturate myself with fast, blaring, electric guitars and gritty vocals (the grit would of course rear its head with Ragan). Hayes just released a new single, “Warm Bodies”, which he shared for all to enjoy. You can listen to it here if you haven’t yet.
Uke-Hunt took the stage next complete with melodica, ukulele, and stand-up bass. Uke-Hunt is a supergroup of sorts, with Spike Slawson (Me First & the Gimme Gimmes, Swingin’ Utters) on ukulele and vocals, Randy Burk (Small-Time Napoleons, Filthy Thieving Bastards) on various percussion instruments and vocals, Jamin Barton (Kelley Stoltz, The Titan Ups, Ramshackle Romeos, Bone Cootes and the Living Wrecks) on saxophone, melodica, harmonica and various other janky instruments and Joe Reposo (Lagwagon, King City, The Real McKenzies) on stand-up bass. While the band seems to have original material, the majority of their set is comprised of covers, most memorable of which was their cover of the Kink’s song “Animal Farm”.
Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio followed Uke-Hunt, and what more can be said. It’s Matt fuckin Skiba. This guy has made girls wet and guys cry for almost two decades, and tonight was no different. One of the first Alkaline Trio shows I ever went to was in Chicago definitely over a decade ago. I’ll never forget Hot Water Music fans sitting in the middle of the pit as Skiba took the stage for a little guest appearance. I never really liked that memory, and I am happy that it has been replaced with a an acoustic version of “Goodbye Forever”, which is probably my all-time favorite Trio song. While the plugged-in version does a little more for me, the acoustic had an energy all its own.
Chuck Ragan. The man. The myth. The legend. A couple Punk Rock Bowlings ago, I saw Chuck Ragan performing his new work, the 2011 album “Covering Ground”. I still listen to this album every week, and of course I had some hopes of songs he would play. The absolute power, energy, heart, and grit behind his voice is ridiculously moving. Then add to it the lumberjack style, and you’ve got the complete package. The new American voice. His songs of being on the road, loneliness, running to the bottle, and life decisions share themes that I believe everyone can relate to. While not all my favorites were performed, it’s probably for the better. I realized that if he had played “Wish On The Moon”, I most likely would have curled up into a ball and cried like a baby. Ragan is getting ready to release a new album, “Til Midnight”, this March through SideOneDummy.