Rock of all ages

Punk show open to anyone with taste for noise

Posted: Thursday, May 04, 2006


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  Photo submitted by Fourth Rotor

Fallen Hero performs at an all-ages show at Bitoz Pizzeria in Anchorage in March. Fallen Hero's members are all under the age of 15. They are, left to right, Ray Mabrey, Matt Mabrey, Gage Harvey and Dalton Bush.

Photo submitted by Jan Mabrey

Matt Mabrey is a 14-year-old drummer and home-schooled eighth-grader from Nikiski. Douglas Ward is a 38-year-old guitarist and computer consultant from Chicago.

Tomorrow night, their respective bands will share the bill at a Cinco de Mayo concert designed for music fans younger than Matt, older than Douglas and at any age in between who isn’t afraid of a little noise.

The show is all ages, but the real winners are teens. Fans of hard-driving rock music who are 21 years old or older have options to satisfy that craving every week.


Fourth Rotor, a Chicago band on tour in Alaska with the Portland, Ore., band Defect Defect, perform in these undated photos. Pictured are, drummer Kammy Lee, guitarist Douglas Ward and bassist Jacob Levee.

Photo submitted by Fourth Rotor

“Everybody remembers being a teenager and having nowhere to go but drive around in your car and go to fast food restaurants. That’s a drag,” recalls Ward, speaking via cell phone last Friday from Bellingham, Wash., where his band was preparing to drive their tour van onto a ferry headed north for its first Alaska tour.

Ward has played in punk bands since 1985, over the years playing all-ages shows in every state except Alaska.

His current band, Fourth Rotor, along with the Portland, Ore., band Defect Defect, is set to play three all-ages shows in Alaska: one tonight at Bitoz Pizzeria in Anchorage, on Friday at Alaska Great Skate in Soldotna, and one Saturday at The Underground in Fairbanks.

That Fourth Rotor is playing a show with Mabrey’s band, comprised of three 14-year-olds and a 13-year-old, is encouraging to him.

“By doing all-ages shows, we’re trying to show people, you can do other things, here’s something else.”


Photo submitted by Fourth Rotor

Mabrey’s band is tuned in to that something else. His band, Fallen Hero, is already a regular player on Southcentral’s all-ages circuit. They debuted at Bitoz Pizzeria in September 2005. The group has since played several shows at Bitoz, along with a handful around the peninsula with acts like Soldotna’s Sentio (another band whose members are too young to get into a bar) and Kenai rock outfit 9spine.

Mabrey’s younger brother, 13-year-old Ray, plays guitar. Dalton Bush and Gage Harvey round out the group on bass and vocals, respectively.

Fallen Hero has never shared a bill with a Chicago band or a Portland band. Truth be told, Fallen Hero’s members haven’t seen any of the bands they’re playing with Friday. StuntC—-, the Anchorage band primarily responsible for organizing the three shows with the Lower 48 punkers, played with Fallen Hero at its first Bitoz appearance, but Fallen Hero’s members didn’t see them.


Photo submitted by Fourth Rotor

Mike, the band’s singer, contacted Fallen Hero through their Web site at to get them on the bill for a peninsula show.

StuntC—- has a MySpace site, as does Defect Defect, Fourth Rotor, Sentio and just about any band that takes a moment or two to set up a page. MySpace is a Web-based networking site that allows users to post messages, photos, music and videos on their own sites and the sites of their online friends.

Fallen Hero’s MySpace site has the Anchorage band listed as a friend and vice versa, and both bands list the Bitoz site under their friends list. helped bring together the bands for the Soldotna show, but according to Ward, all-ages shows served as social networking tools for below-the-radar culture purveyors long before the Internet got involved.

“The underground, DIY punk scene is just a continuation of underground arts scenes that have always been about socially conscious, activist, idea-oriented things as opposed to making art into a consumer product,” he said. “Not that there’s anything wrong with people who choose to do that, but this kind of scene that we operate in is not that at all. It’s about creating spaces, communities and a forum for alternative expression.”

“DIY” stands for “do-it-yourself.” In the case of all ages shows, that means “make your own music.” For these bands, it also means “Design your own Web site,” and usually “design your own flyers” and “Do your own promotion.”

Ward said his group prefers to play shows where young people are allowed through the doors because it shows how easy it can be to do those things. The venues, he said, are usually smaller, putting the bands physically closer to the audience.

“The people that are playing are just the same as the people that are in the audience. We’re just schmucks in T-Shirts, too. It kind of helps break down that barrier between performer and audience,” he said.

Alcohol doesn’t serve as a distancing influence at an all ages show, either.

“We like those because your band isn’t background music to selling alcohol,” he said.

Ward said playing to audiences in smaller cities further adds to the fulfillment a band can get from an all-ages show.

“You go and play New York City and you can play your brains out and there’s 75 shows down the street. People are just like, ‘Well, thanks for coming,’ but they don’t get too excited about it.”

Mabrey, for his part, doesn’t think a lack of energy will be an issue.

“I don’t really know how the crowd’s going to react to the rest of the bands, but when we’re on stage, normally, the crowd goes crazy,” he said.

Fourth Rotor, Defect Defect, StuntC—- and Fallen Hero will play at 7 p.m. Friday at Alaska Great Skate in Soldotna. Tickets are $8 at the door.

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