Sublime Benefit A Night Of "Fun, Raging Punk"

No Doubt came through just like they said they would.

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

going on.

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.

That, though,

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

full.

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.

Nowell's widow,

Troy, spoke a bit from the stage, including the fitting announcement that she

is the newest staff member of the Musicians Assistance Program.

The most

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.

With what

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.