Oh what magical and wondrous things might community and music bring together. Friday night, May 10th became just such an event. A evening dedicated to mental health and music is a perfect mixture for so many people’s situations. That is one of the reasons Justin and Gina Simpson started this annual event, now in its second year, dedicated to elevating suicide awareness. Gina said it wonderfully, “one life lost is too many.” I think we can all agree with this statement. The Simpsons’ overwhelming desire to spread awareness on this cause is something to be admired. Knitting Factory GM, Gary Pike has been quick to throw his support their way and lend them a place for these events. Boise is full of incredible people, and such issues and events bring out the best in our little community. Or in the case of Dan Hopkins (aka Dan Woodz), former 100.3 the X radio personality, it brings them back to the fold. Dan made the road trip from Utah to come back to host the event, and be another top supporter of this cause. He has been a spokesperson and contributor to these events alongside Gina and Justin.
A few other important names were running booths and spreading awareness this night. Ride for 22, a nonprofit organization set up to spread awareness about veteran suicide and led by Steve Exceen, had a booth set up to show their support. Pride Mental Health, led by local musician Dane Mullen, was also present with his booth and staff. Dane happens to be the drummer for the first band that played this night, Reason Within. Idaho Suicide Prevention had a booth running alongside Pride, which was one of the main organizations for the evening. So many good people and wonderful companies all under one roof for one very important cause.
As one might imagine, it was an evening rich with emotion. There were awe-inspiring speakers who had much of the crowd in tears. All the bands played their hearts out, and Woodz rocked the stage, just as if he never left–this is his home. The event even marked the live debut for two of the bands on the bill, Reason Within and Unto Extinction, so this was special for all involved to have the opportunity to witness. They kicked off the night, which closed out with local heroes Black Tooth Grin and Sprockets, out of Las Vegas, but previously from Boise.
Reason Within was intoxicating with their debut to the stage. The trio of Daron Porter (guitar, vocals), Mitch Nielson, (bass, vocals), and Dane Mullen (drums, vocals), lifted the crowd with its high energy and delivered a great time and a fantastic kick off to the night’s festivities. They performed originals, but they also played some covers which the crowd quickly jumped on and sang along with, including Green Day’s “She” and Tom Petty’s “Running Down a Dream.” The crowd really got into the whole set, even the songs they didn’t know. Every member sang and played their hearts out. This is what is so intriguing about this band, every member sings. I think that is a very interesting concept they bring to the table. They were able to set a strong pace for the night to come. Not only are these guys amazing on stage, they are all amazing off stage as well. They are going to quickly become a local rock favorite so make sure you check their Facebook page for upcoming events.
Unto Extinction also rose to the occasion for their live debut. It is no secret that my heart lies in metal, so I was really excited to see some members from other bands form this new metal group. Morkenna (lead vocals), David Ford (guitar, vocals), Tyler Johnson (drums, vocals), Ted Clements (bass, vocals), and Gabe Hodges (lead guitar, vocals) are the magic behind this band. Starting to see a trend with this multiple vocalists idea, and I dig it. Morkenna’s vocals are extraordinary. Her range is insane and her stage presence is incredible. When you add Ford’s epic rhythm guitar along with Hodges prodigious solo work, you get something special. Johnson and Clements are no lemons though, this band is filled to the gills with talent, and boy did they show it. This is a new local band you absolutely must see.
Black Tooth Grin is, as I have mentioned in other reviews, one of my favorite local bands, if not my absolute favorite. You know what you are going to get with them, and you are never disappointed. While this night proved to treat them better than the last, without the technical difficulties or loss of singers’ vocals, they rocked the crowd as they always do. Playing fan favorites such as “Drifter” and “Shine On,” and everyone joined in to show these guys some love. They selflessly brought me to the front for one of my favorite covers they do, Corrosion of Conformity‘s “13 Angels” which made the tears flow. I could write for years on these wonderful guys and their beautiful music. Some of the best humans on this Earth. If you have not had the pleasure to see them, you need to get out there and do it.
Sprockets was a band I did not know anything about before they were on stage. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I could tell by how they interactive with everyone, that they were good people. They started and I immediately felt like I was teleported back into the 90’s, but good 90’s, not the 90’s we don’t dare speak of. They have a mixture of punk sounds, but also alternative rock. I was highly entertained right from the beginning. Consisting of members Brodie Knight (vocals, guitar), Dave Schwaller (bass, vocals), Jesse Magana (lead guitar, vocals), and Matty DeCarlo (drums), they ended the night with a bang. If you enjoy anything about 90’s rock, I suggest you look these guys up.
Dan Woodz stated about the event:
“An amazing night of music, compassion, and community. I am excited to see this event continue to grow and expand. My family and I are honored to be a part of this event. Thank you to all for allowing us to be a part of this show. #Respect #plns”
I couldn’t agree more. It was a night full of emotions and hugs. A night focused on something bigger than any of us. A night full of love for lost loved ones, and ones who are struggling. Please, if you are struggling with life, reach out. There are people who love and care for you. There is help. Don’t lose the best parts of your life by giving up during the difficult times. You never know what beauty you may be missing on the other end.