It was your typical rock 'n' rolls scene. Just a couple of
hours into the concert, the guest of honor was running around in the balcony,
babbling a bunch of nonsense, having a ball and oblivious to much of what was
Of course, Jakob Nowell is just 19 months old; he crashed early
and will likely remember this night only through videotape. His dad, Sublime
leader Brad Nowell, was there only in pictures and music.
But Jakob's dad's
friends showed up big time for "Enough Already,'' a benefit concert for the
fallen rocker who died last May, just before the band's best album hit the
stores. After expenses, the show was expected to raise $20,000 for the
Musicians Assistance Program and $20,000 more for Jakob. His share will be in
the bank for the next 16 years until he's ready for college.
seemed almost like an afterthought. Saturday's show was a blast; it got maudlin
only if you started thinking too much about how great a time Brad would have
had he been there. It was a loose, casual affair, as if the bands had sneaked
into the unlocked Palladium and taken it over for a night of punk.
It was a
bit of vindication as well. For years A&R scouts would fly to Raleigh, Fort
Lauderdale and Seattle to sign bands while snubbing the punk/ska scene
developing just 25 minutes down the freeway from their L.A. offices. No Doubt's
star power certainly helped push the sales fast -- the show went clean in just
over nine minutes -- but it would have sold out anyway on the strength of
Pennywise, the Vandals, Voodoo Glow Skulls, the Ziggins, fluf, Filibuster, All
Day and Slightly Stoopid. With 5,000 fans in the house and about 50 billion in
the VIP/musicians-only balcony, the fire marshal had his hands
Musicians from Long Beach and Orange County mingled, wandered,
laughed and partied...
Musicians from Long Beach and Orange County mingled,
wandered, laughed and partied while taking turns getting on-stage for bursts of
fun, raging punk. They wandered with beers and video cameras, making their own
little documentaries. The crowd politely obeyed the "no moshing" sign,
sometimes for seconds at a time. The rest of the time it was a roiling,
slamming pit beneath the Palladium's chandeliers and decaying splendor.
With clockwork precision, the 10 bands got on stage, did their business
and got off. Highlights: Pennywise' fiery "Fight Till You Die'' and their
crunching, chunky version of "Stand By Me''; Voodoo Glowskulls "Charlie
Brown''; and the entire sets from both the Ziggens and the Vandals, both of
whom were allotted short but potent blasts of music.
No Doubt's set was
heavy on hits, with the crowd swooning over "Don't Speak." The band continues
to grow live, stretching "Just a Girl" and "Spiderweb" into taut performance
pieces. Months ago when this concert was just a concept, the band vowed it
would be there, wherever and whenever the night came together. Nice to see that
a few million albums and two Grammy nominations later, they still made good on
it, even throwing a bit of "Pawn Shop" into their own set.
Troy, spoke a bit from the stage, including the fitting announcement that she
is the newest staff member of the Musicians Assistance Program.
touching moments, though, were those from Brad Nowell himself in the short
documentary film on the band. The crowd sang every word of "What I Got,'' a
poem to living life that is joyous and sad at the same time.
could have been the ultimate cheesy ending, No Doubt called everyone on-stage
for a raucous final blast of the Beatles' "Ob-la-di Ob-la-da." But it worked --
the crowd was into it, the musicians dug deep into the song's ska roots, and
the "Life goes on" refrain made sure that the night ended as a celebration, not
a wake. Given the two goals of the night -- helping musicians avoid Nowell's
fate and helping a kid without a dad get through college in the year 2013 --
it's hard to think of a finer closing thought.