When Stephanie Bell of local band Hot Dog Sandwich originally approached The Pride Foundation to volunteer, she was expecting to help with the parade. She instead found herself putting together a benefit punk-rock show at Visual Arts Collective, called Equality Rocks.
It was a big enough success that Bell decided to keep going with the series, but moved it to The Crux so it could be all ages.
"How cool is it that there are 8-year-old kids here?" Bell laughed, surveying the audience at the third installment of Equality Rocks, on Feb. 16.
The kids in the audience weren't the only young ones there. Bell was especially excited about Standing Stupid, a high-school pop-punk band she booked for the show.
Her eyes drifted back toward the door at several people strolling into The Crux, oblivious to the donation station.
"I need to be a more aggressive door-watcher," she said.
The previous installments of Equality Rocks raised around $400 a piece for the Pride Foundation's scholarship programs.
"They did some really cool stuff in Washington with musicians for marriage equality, some big names," she said. "But we did our show first."
The first band of the night was The Retrobates, a five-piece rock group with atonal female vocals and the sloppy cohesion of The Voidoids.
"We're going to slow down," the singer said. " And I give my husband and Bart's wife permission to slow dance."
The Retrobates were followed by Standing Stupid, whose pitch was no more perfect than their predecessors. The arrangements and hooks showed promise, however, as did the band's clear enthusiasm for the stage.
After Standing Stupid finished, Ben the Drunken Poet read from a book of poems about the Holocaust.
The evening was capped off with a performance from Hot Dog Sandwich, who filled in for Roofied Resistance, which canceled at the last second. As always, the moon-shooting band sounded as classy and refined as its name suggests.