Word spread quickly in the ska community following the death of Chain Reaction sound man Christian Dasilva in Huntington Beach. As a result, Starpool and The Aquabats!--two seminal OC ska bands-- joined forces to put together a last-minute benefit show this past Monday for their friend with all proceeds going toward the Dasilva family.
By the day of the show, tickets had sold out, and by 6:30 p.m. a long line had formed outside the Chain Reaction in Anaheim. Close to the entrance of the venue, a memorial was set up for Dasilva while inside there were shirts, stickers, and baked goods for sale.
A few attendees gathered inside and watched the band Makeup Sex open up the night, while others mingled outside, reminiscing on Dasilva's life. As the clock drew closer to eight, the venue became smaller as bodies packed inside the tiny area to be close to the stage.
Like old times at Chain Reaction, Scotty Professional took the stage as Starpool set up their gear, covering The Aquabats! "Martian Girl" that calmed fan's anxiety to see the following act. Once Starpool took stage, Alan Meade opened up their set by reminding fans why they were present.
"Remember we are having fun in honor of Christian tonight!"
The now large crowd that had gathered broke out into skank pits. Fans sang along, chanted, and waved their hands for "Despise" as Meade commanded their attention. The band, riled with emotion, gave it their all as they danced on top of the tiny stage and instigated madness from the crowd.
Before ending their set, Meade once again thanked fans. "We're not here for Starpool, we're here cause a good friend, father, and husband is no longer with us. Thank you for coming out!"
It was obvious that majority of fans where present to see The Aquabats! as crowds came dressed up with their blue rash guards, silver anti-negativity helmets, and goggles despite the crazy heat spike inside the tiny venue with old band shirts and stickers covering the walls.
The lights dimmed, fans roared, and The Aquabats! came out full fledged and wasted no time in startin' out with their "Theme Song." It didn't take long for bodies to get shoved against the stage or away from their predestined spots as a rowdy crowd near the middle had created a mosh pit that seemed to drag everyone in on the fun.
Midway through, the MC Bat Commander gave his own little speech, remembering Christian Dasilva's days when he toured alongside them with little pay and for sticking with them despite the band's unconventional ways.
As you'd expect, the show became in instant party-- MC Bat Commander (aka Christian Jacobs) tossed out inflatable doughnuts and empty water bottles--his definition of "prizes,"-- which fans really seemed to go crazy for. Despite the sweat and snot that came onto the Bat Commander's microphone, fans still pushed and shoved to have their moment of fame singing on the mic.
The audience was a mix of teens, grade schoolers, older ska fans and even a few babies (supervised of course) who came to unite as a community to support the Dasilva family. To make it a memorable experience for the little kids, the Bat Commander called up younger fans onstage and offered them the chance for free candy--if they crowd surfed!
The kids, completely unaware of what 'body surfing' was, didn't know what they were getting into--but knew they wanted candy, and so they took the plunge. Fans drew together to ensure the safety of the first-timers and to assure the kids would reach their candy destination.
After the band's set and quick encore, their rash guards (the ones they wore that night) were auctioned off for $45 while the Bat Commander's blue suit was sold for 80 whoppin' dollars.
While many fans may have gone solely for experience of seeing Starpool and The Aquabats!, bands constantly reminded fans of why they were present, and fans seemed glad to be able to have a good time while also being able to help out a family in a time of need.
To further their support, Chain Reaction is also hosting another memorial show on Friday, August 17 at 7 p.m., featuring Southern Lights, Eyes Like Yours, the Greenery, End the Century, There's No Heroes, Siren Siren and Vale of Avalon.