On Friday, December 2, 2011, the stars aligned for a tribute to a fallen loved one. Haley Butcher was a young, Huntington Beach resident who played Varsity Volleyball for Huntington Beach High School. She loved music and loved going to shows. Unfortunately, her health declined and set into motion the unfortunate events that, although heartbreaking, would ultimately lead to this wonderful night of music; Haley’s dream show. (Haley’s story can be read in full via the link below). Although I did not know Haley Butcher personally, I felt the energy of her family and friends who surrounded me. The family and friends seemed peppered throughout the audience that night at the Galaxy Concert Theatre in Santa Ana, CA. In the mix of family and friends of Haley Butcher were fans of the music that night. The lineup was a group of bands that Haley Butcher herself proclaimed as some of her favorite bands. I learned this information throughout the night and found it beautiful that these bands took the time and put their heart into making this a special night for not only Haley, but for the entire Butcher family.
Throughout the night, there was a positive energy that set the mood for stellar sets from all bands that were part of this special night. From the openers of the night, Pangea, to the closers of the night, Warpaint, I feel that Haley’s dream show was indeed one to truly be remembered.
First off, The Galaxy Theatre was a packed house that night. Tickets for the show were sold out and the vibes were positive from the get go. As the audience filled up the venue, the main focus of the night was not lost. It was a night designed to dance, enjoy the art of music, and pay respects to the one person who could not be there to see her dream lineup of bands come together. However, it was not a somber night at all. It honestly felt like a celebration.
Pangea, a band from Los Angeles, opened the night with a set full of fun, catchy, and well crafted songs. The sound of the band was simple and the guitar sounds really left an impression on me. Next up, Tijuana Panthers. They set the crowd into a frenzy. I was surprised at how much the crowd loved this band. I was not familiar with them and as I observed the crowd and listened to the songs and I must say, I was converted to what this band can do. They again, had well crafted songs and there was a pop sensibility to their songs while still incorporating other elements of punk, a bit of rockabilly, and just pure rock n’ roll. They definitely deserved all the fanfare, crowd surfing, and definitely get a huge plus for making the security guys work for their paycheck that night. Then came TRMRS, a band who played with elements of bluesy Rock with reverb from Psychedelic and pure nastiness of garage to just deliver a set that is best described by my description of their sound; bluesy, psychedelic, and nasty; all stated in the most positive of lights. Then came a brief intermission in which the creators of the show came together and raffled off many prizes to help benefit the cause being celebrated that night. When the raffle was completed, a surprise guest band appeared to perform a few new songs. The Growlers did a short set that was satisfying and fun. The night was very good so far, and then came the element that the crowd was waiting for as the night went on.
Chants of “Warpaint” began ringing out and as the clock reached about 11:00pm or so, out came the beautiful ladies of Warpaint. Stella Mozgawa calmly taking her seat behind her drum set and getting ready to kill it as she has now gained a reputation of doing rather well to say the least. The rest of the band getting into position before bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg led the sounds into the opener “Jubilee”. The band played with a fluidity and power of water; delicate enough to feel soft and pure and yet with a power strong enough to strike like a tidal wave when need be. The band was able to command the audience at all times. They weaved through their songs with ease and it must be stated that the rhythm section of Jenny Lee and Stella are one of the best I have ever heard. There were a few moments that seemed like minor technical difficulties (some Bass problems and some guitar pedals malfunctioning early on), but the band did not let up and killed it.
The fans of Warpaint have grown exponentially since I first witnessed them years ago as a small Los Angeles band. They have a strong male and female following that seems to just be growing with every passing live show. I observed one fan directly across from me who was screaming every lyric to every song with tears coming down her eyes for most of the show. It was a sign of devotion that I found incredibly moving and had nothing but respect and admiration for that fan and what Warpaint has put out into this world.
There were some special moments worth noting during Warpaints’ set. One was when someone threw a bra up on stage during “Bees” to which Theresa Wayman (guitarist/vocalist) picked it up and strapped it on to her mike stand, where it remained for most of the set. Another was when Emily Kokal (Vocals/Guitar) stage dived during “Undertow” and thrilled the crowd. One of the more beautiful moments was the first song of the encore when Emily performed “Baby” by herself. A beautiful and simple song that evokes many different emotions through the melody, notes, and lyrics. Again, this song exemplifies the power and fluidity of Warpaint in a nutshell. Able to be calm like a stream but hit hard like a wave. One last poignant moment was when Theresa and Jenny took time to mention Haley and the Butcher family and thank them for inviting the band to be part of the show. It was a sincere and humble sentiment from the band where it was truly evident how honored they were to be there that night.
From Warpaint jamming out with thunderous punch like how they did during “Elephants” and “Beetles” to ending the night calm and with sincerity and joy with “Set Your Arms Down”, Warpaint captured the meaning of the night perfectly. It was a night meant to enjoy and get lost in the music and after it is all said and done, to respect the love around and cherish every moment. I truly hope the friends and family of Haley Butcher were left proud and happy with the turnout of what truly was a great night if music.
Baby (Emily only)
Set Your Arms Down
Read Haley’s full story here: http://www.galaxytheatre.com/events/haley-butcher
Register to be a bone marrow donor at: http://marrow.org/Home.aspx
If you would like to make a direct donation, make checks payable to The Haley Butcher Fund and mail to:
6071 Doyle Drive
Huntington Beach, CA. 92647
by Anthony Lozano