"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> Third Annual Punk Fest For The Children's Hospital
Pictures and story by Michael Rys
Punk rock, to me has an under served reputation. Average people are not only intimidated by the music but the stereotypical "look". My experience is much different.I've found that just like anyone else,anywhere else most people in the punk community are honest caring,and helpful. Of course there are turds who are self centered,egotistical,and would not piss on someone if they were on fire but like any other community they are few and far between. We'll touch on the a-holes later. This is story about the good. The good people in and around the punk scene in Detroit, its surrounding suburbs and parts of Ohio.
Saturday September 11,2010 was the date of the 3rd annual Punk Fest for Children's Hospital. Held at the venerable Old Miami in heart of downtown Detroit(some histories greatest punk artists have graced the stage at what I believe is Detroit's CBGB's) All bands,workers,and performers donate their time and energies to this annual show which raises money for Children's Hospitals indigent fund.This fund helps families cope with expenses incurred while a child is hospitalized and often not covered by insurance if the family has coverage at all. Things like transportation,lodging,food, and laundry.Its truly a worthy cause which all can identify with even if your not a parent yet. All proceeds from the shows door charge,merchandise sales, raffles and exclusive CD / t-shirt sales go to this fund .
The show usually features bands playing outside at the beginning of the evening in the Old Miami's one acre gorgeous back yard but with rain still pouring at the 6PM start time all bands would be performing inside. Sympathy Orchestra started the night off and I must say we knew when the band was booked that their music was not punk, or even punk influenced( when you walk in a place and see a gong onstage its a safe bet to say,"not punk" ) but that fact aside they were pretty entertaining for band that describes themselves as prog-rock. They mixed in some originals with covers,like King Crimson and stayed entertaining because they were off the mainstream. Re-Built( ex members of Built to Last ) took the stage next and kicked the energy into high gear with their somewhat short but butt kicking set. Broken Teeth a relatively new band on Detroit's scene kept things rolling with some good old fashioned boot stomping street punk. Night Market Revival was up next and while they were not as rough and tumble as the previous bands taking more of a pop tone they were plenty enjoyable with their blend of pop-garage punk, and had a few ladies shaking their purses to some tunes which is always a plus to see. Next up was Ypsilanti's pride and joy Ironclad which features long time metro Detroit veterans and believe me I highly recommend seeing these guys mix punk,OI' with a twist of Irish-American folk. 8-Ball Death followed with a DRI,Sloppy Seconds ( thanks Perry for the heads up there) like sound which old farts like me never seem to tire of hearing. It was not just the fast and furious pace at which they kicked ass but the humor. Gets me every time. Mid-West legends,Detroit based Circus Boy took the stage next and well you never know whats gonna happen when they play,except you can just about always expect Mike, the bands vocalist to find something to climb,knock over,fall on, cut himself,etc... This time sure enough he climbs the speaker stack on stage , grabs a pipe on the ceiling and hangs there singing till he drops.No broken bones but I bet it was felt when the beers wore off. The band cranked a Dead Boys Stooges mix style sound and were dead on nailing it through out their set. Guest vocalist Meredeth Lorde singing with Mike and the band was a treat too. Closing the nights musical performers were Ann Arbor hardcore legends the State. It should be mentioned that these fine young men have played every Children's Hospital benefit to date, and a cancer benefit the year proceeding, 4 years running now. So its with out a doubt they support not only the punk scene but giving back to the community too. I have yet to see the State put on a hum drum show, don't think its really possible. They ranged covering classic hits like No Illusions and throwing in some new stuff. With a raging Discharge cover and even playing "I Wanna Be Your Dog" with Gabe from Ironclad playing sax. Absolutely brutal!!!
The festivities throughout the night were not limited to just the bands indoors. The Detroit Fire Guild performed outside when darkness too over the sky and the rain has cleared out. This troupe of performers were spellbinding to watch as they swallowed ,twirled,hula hooped,juggled and ate fire. They drew a great crowd outside while the bands switched gear onstage and the rounds of raffles were over. If your not lucky enough to live in Detroit area and catch them, look them up on youtube for some amazing and artistic performances.
Its two days after Punk Fest for Children's Hospital 2010 and I don't have numbers to share but I can say what I saw was a packed house indoors and out. For most of the evening and well into the night( 6pm through 2am)and it seemed bands,fans, and workers were all having a great time,doing something good for those going through troubled times. I'm very proud to have been there, and very thankful to the Punk Rock community for supporting this benefit. Hopefully it will continue to grow and prosper in the future.
Now, I'm going to touch on the bad just for a moment. These are the turds I spoke of earlier. Not one label we wrote this year for support answered the emails sent,with the exception of SBS Records out of Cleveland Ohio, and Freeman Promotions out of New Jersey. Not only did they acknowledge the efforts of Punk Fest for Children's Hospital but they donated healthy packages of swag for the merchandise table. So the next time you go to purchase a CD, or digital down load maybe you want to consider... Did Hellcat, Epitaph, Capt Oi, Bomp, Lucky 13,Spitfire, etc... Even really support those who support them? Its not that they didn't donate,times are tough and all kinds of hands are out asking for help but an email saying thanks but no thanks would be nice.
Turd number two: Bands that cancel shows more specifically Benefit shows with 4 days notice and by email can suck donkey balls as far as I'm concerned. One band chooses to break up and cancel. What ??? Who does that to a kids benefit. Hold your personal crap finish your obligation and then never speak to each other again. Another band,highly regarded for their talent is not worth a roll of toilet paper in my mind they choose to cancel BY EMAIL , when they had the organizers phone number four days before the show and gave a multitude of half assed reasons why they could not play. I'm sorry, four days before A BENEFIT FOR KIDS,short of death or dismemberment you play the ^%$#in show. Ego's ,greed, and narcissism have no place in a healthy music scene despite your 'talent" and " popularity". In the bigger picture Punk Fest For Children's Hospital was better off with out your stinking band.
Big props to all the bands who kicked ass,the volunteers for making it all happen and too all those who came out.

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