On July 10, the inaugural RenoPalooza was held at The Alpine House of Music & Events on Fourth Street. It was a fundraising event to help establish the “Just One” Campaign with the goal of providing support and resources to fight teen suicide. The central feature of the event was an impressive list of local musical performers playing from 4:30 p.m. and on into the wee hours of the morning.
Kat Heart opened the show with a solo performance singing and playing guitar. The first band of the evening was an incredibly young group of players called Split Persona. I was blown away. This is an incredibly powerful hard rock band made up of four young men with a lot of opportunity ahead of them. They were followed up by singer/songwriter Tyler Stafford. The switch from hard rock to Tyler was quite dramatic.
Next up was Pink Awful followed by Eric Stangeland, both of whom I am familiar with due to their past involvement in the Forte’ Awards. Pink Awful played a strong, gritty set with lead singer Ashley Costelloe creating very commanding presence on stage. Great performance.
Local artist and noted guitar instructor Eric Stangeland followed up with his solo acoustic work. His last song was Jimi Hendrix’s “Angel.” Since Eric doesn’t sing, he invited anybody who might like to sing along to come up and join him. Kyle Visco from Seedless 10 Den C obliged him and did a great job.
After a short break Local Anthology kept the energy going with a strong set of rock-and-roll, followed by the very talented Matt Reardon. Matt is very musically gifted and flexible, sitting in with players like Buddy Emmer and The Blues Monsters whenever possible. On this night, a dead battery put a stick in the works until the problem was diagnosed by sound guy Will Finn, and the show continued. Although Reardon may have been jangled inside by the issue, he didn’t show it at all; a true professional.
The momentum continued as the man behind the evening, Grady Holdridge, brought his band, Seedless 10 Den C, to the stage for some reggae rock/funk. After that Kat Heart came back for some more music, followed by Cliff Porter and Full Blast bringing my evening to a fantastic close.
My camera battery was dead and my personal energy reserves were running low. It had been a long day. Although I wasn’t there to enjoy it, the L.A.-based Hush and Reno band Washoe finished out the evening’s live performances. Sorry I missed them, but I heard they were just as fantastic as everyone before them.
The show was filmed to produce a short film titled “Rain.” The filming was led by local actor and producer Brian Perry with director Blaine Dahle. Local high school students were on hand to observe and prepare for involvement in upcoming aspects of the project for which they will receive credits toward graduation. Reno’s own Grady Holdridge wrote the film which will, no doubt, be expanded upon by those individuals involved in its final creation.
“If it saves ‘Just One’ person from taking their own life, it will all be worth our efforts.”
More than just music
But this was not just a night of music and drink. This is an effort to bring awareness to the #3 cause of death today among teenagers: suicide. There has been great loss across our country and in our own community.
The genesis of the idea came about when Holdridge was discussing the filming of a music video for his song “Rain” with producer Brian Perry. The subject matter of the song is teen suicide. Perry’s vision of the idea was much larger than just a music video.
The concept grew as Perry reached out to a colleague, film director Blaine Dahle in Los Angeles. Dahle has recently worked with director Michael Leoni who just released his film, “When Today Ends,” which follows the true story of four teenagers taking part in a trend from about four years ago that was taking the lives of many teenagers. At the time, teens were posting videos online where they were holding up cards with messages on them, going through them one by one until they got to the last one which would read something such as, “when today ends…I won’t be here anymore.” At that point, they would take their own life “live” on social media platforms.
Dahle bought in to the “Rain” idea and wanted to get involved. The initial budget estimate was $100,000, but with minimal spending it could be brought down to about $20,000. That’s where the fundraising is needed.
A committee was formed to create and organize the project and move things forward. Members of this committee include Washoe County School District’s Innovations High School Principal Taylor Harper, Brian Perry, Jave Patterson, Connie Wray-Gaudard, Executive Director Emilio Parga of Solace Tree, Matt Reardon, Shannon Mateo who lost her son, Brandon to suicide last year, and Holdridge and Dahle.
The “Just One” campaign was born, and from that came Holdridge’s RenoPalooza Event, the first leg of the film’s fundraising.
The storyline developed for the “Rain” film will follow a young couple in turmoil. Embroiled in great despair, the man is seen shooting guns and pondering bad options. After a dream sequence that is the music video, he ends up seeking help and resolving his issues versus doing himself harm.
The plan is to show the film in as many high schools as possible to bring awareness to the severity of the situation and to let teens know it’s okay to reach out for help when needed. They are not alone. With the support of Harper, additional filming will be done on campus, and will include students from the school.
The crowdfunding will continue through the summer and into September culminating on Sept. 25 with a school assembly event at Innovations High School featuring music by local and out-of-town artists, as well as the premier of the film, “Rain.”
With help from Washoe County School District’s Ombudsman and Strategies Officer Paul LaMarca, “Just One” plans to roll out the video in September 2022 to as many as 20 area high schools during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The presentation days will include live music and the showing of the short film “Rain” along with Michael Leoni’s film, “When Today Ends.”
For additional information, or to contribute to the fund, follow the links below.
Nick McCabe is a Reno-based photojournalist and musician. He’s been shooting concerts in the Reno-Tahoe area since 2006 and writing articles and reviews since 2012, as well as doing interviews on occasion. His musical education and playing experience goes back to 1967. He is a founding member of the Reno Tahoe Forte’ Awards, and he still plays music locally for enjoyment. First concert: Jimi Hendrix. Last concert: we’ll see.