On the evening of Saturday, February 26th I attended the Rock Vs. Cancer benefit at House of Blues San Diego. Everyone was dressed head to toe in formal attire--I was in faded black jeans, black combat boots and a ripped up Queen shirt, sticking out like a sore thumb. I obviously didn’t get the dress code memo. Nonetheless I was there to support the cause, check out the exhibit of artwork and see some awesome punk rock bands play acoustic.
The show opened up with acoustic performances from the Napoleon Complex followed by Jim Lindberg of Pennywise and then Justin Sane of Anti Flag. Next was Joe Sib, the co-owner of Side One Dummy Records performing his “California Calling” stand up comedy, where he tells the story of what it was like to grow up during the real punk rock era. Joe was quite the entertainer; he had a slide show filled with pictures of his band haircuts as a teenager and showcased different style of music he liked.
After Joe’s set, I walked around the venue to check out the artwork that was showcased for the benefit. Tons of different bands contributed a piece of art for the event.
Say Anything, Motion City Soundtrack, Bring Me The Horizon, Incubus, The Used, Parkway Drive, Social Distortion, Underoath, Four Year Strong, Simple Plan, and MXPX were some of the many bands who contributed a piece to be auctioned off. Each painting was dedicated to a type of cancer and showcased something different and unique. Say Anything’s painting in memory of Leukemia Fighters was one that really stood out to me. I loved that they had incorporated one of their own lyrics into the painting “Alive With Love”. Mike Ness of Social Distortion wrote the lyrics “Yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery. But baby right now, it’s about you and me... Reach for the sky” on a painting, which really stood out to me as well.
Next up was a Fashion Show of formal wear, and each model was walking the runway on behalf of someone they know who has been affected by cancer. Each model came to the front of the stage, spoke into the mic and stated the persons name they were walking for, what type of cancer and whether the person was a fighter or a survivor. I felt so much emotion in the room while these models told their stories. One model was walking for his grandfather that had pasted away from cancer and said, “Big Red, you were the best grandpa I ever had”.
Once the fashion show ended Santi & Greg from The Bouncing Souls and Joey Cape of Lagwagon each played acoustic sets on the House of Blues stage. After those sets, Emily Nielsen (the women who put on the benefit), came out with Marko DeSantis from Sugarcult and Joe Sibs to auction off the top ten pieces of artwork in a live auction. The artwork that was auctioned off ranged from $100 to $1,200 depending on the piece. One member of the audience bid on a signed guitar by Angels & Airwaves for $700!!
At the end of the auction and evening the total profits for the night rounded to about $200,000 dollars raised for cancer. Such a great accomplishment and night filled with live music, unique artwork and raising awareness for cancer. Overall the event left me feeling inspired, thankful and motivated.