(By RB Contributor Tracy Smith)

Several talented individuals came together on a blazing Saturday afternoon to give back to the community in more ways than one. Fashion Party’s Marcos Mena hosted this event in a local art gallery in order to raise money to fight cancer while dually putting on an unforgettable show. The event was well-crafted, and paved way for an electric evening.

Fashion Party’s very own Corbin Martinez, who is also referred to as C Carr Roberts, served as the benefit’s opener. As proven in his interview and his opening sentence of “No, I need to finish the taco,” Corbin is quite a character. When it comes to his music though, the transformation is something not to be missed. A certain depth lies in Corbin’s voice that is so beautiful that it chills the soul. After watching him perform, you would not believe that isn’t famous yet. It is impossible not to fall in love with his voice because it’s so haunting that you may physically pray that he continues to sing. If there were any doubts I had about coming to the benefit, they flew out of the door once he opened his mouth. All I could do was watch in awe. Even his cover of the classic “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” was unbearably extraordinary. There is so much truth to what he sings, and anyone that will take the time to listen would never want to tear away from his voice.2

Max Gardener would follow, and was a perfect fit to follow C Carr Roberts because of their very own music style. The band as a whole creates a low-profile product perfect for any So-Cal native. The rare vocals of lead vocalist Max Gardener backed well by the fantastic guitar skills of Shane Blanchard. Blanchard does a great job of highlighting the core of Gardener’s voice, which helps the band create their own genre of music. A type of music that is so vibrant it fills the rooms and lingers.

Cassette Culture was next up to rock the house. This band featuring Fashion Party’s newist addition, Jacob Mandel. Although they played with drummer Jonathan Eastly filling in for Kai Bauer, the chemistry between the boys was through the roof. The boys alone were alive, electric even, but the music spoke for itself. A canvas painted vividly by both Jacob and  guitar player Dylan Knight. Dylan’s mindblowing guitar skills are  perfectly crafted, and certainly unmeasurable. The band as a whole is incredibly understimated. The lack of words for how talented they are is frustrating. They blend perfectly as a band, and if they were this good with a fill-in drummer, I cannot even begin to imagine what this band is capable of with Kai Bauer. No one does Cassette Culture better than Cassette Culture.

The Moderns would grace the stage next, and proved to be yet another great addition to the line up. The boys appeared to be at home on the stage and were a joy to watch. After watching their set, The Moderns seemed to be the perfect fit for their band name because of the modern approach to their music. It was like watching reincarnated rock legends take the stage, and listening to them revitalize the beauty of rock. At a glimpse you would not know the difference, which makes these guys a band to be on the lookout for.

The evening would not be complete without a set from the outrageous Fashion Party. Of course Fashion took the stage looking as fashionable as always. The set featured Evan briefly rocking a cap and gown while Marcos wore his signature scarf. The boys indeed looked good taking the stage, but they played even better. After going six months without seeing them live, it was a bit magical to see how much they had evolved. The transformation was astoundingly beautiful that even their old tunes seemed to be a thousand times better. If you were to hear these boys on a local radio station, you would never guess that they were just a small local band. Although the boys partake in their own separate music careers, what they bring together is greater than the mind can fathom. A Fashion Party set is automatic pick me up for any bruised heart. Their smiles never fade, and they have so much fun together on stage which sets them apart from many other bands. Every Fashion Party show is a damn good show, and it will be one restless wait for Mooky Island.


Better Heroes Followed up Fashion Party’s mesmerizing tunes. This band includes talented drummer Evan Schaid bringing the fashion indeed. This band stuck out more than the others because of its lead singer Hunter Allen being the only femaleto take the stage the entire day. Hunter is most certainly not the typical Hayley Williams clone because she acquires her own singing style far from it. A beautiful, raw voice, and explosive energy. I admire Hunter for her charisma, and for doing the girls justice. It is hard to separate yourself as a lead singer, but it comes naturally for her. She makes you want to get on stage and sing with her, or at least try and do soemthing of the sort. Hunter is backed by an amazing band, which I am sure makes it that much easier to get on stage. There is no fighting the goosebumps you get after a performance by Better Heroes. They did the crowd a heroic favor by gracing us with their presence.

In the end it was Okane Bank$ powering down the lights to close out a long show. Okane represents all of the underrated djs, and proved that it takes more than just tbe flick of a wrist to do his job. He was very different from the previous acts, but was undeniably the missing piece to the puzzle. His smooth flowing transitions were exactly what the crowd needed to absorb the day’s work. Not to mention Okane’s build up is one of the best that I have ever witnessed. It was an honor to watch him, and he did a fantastic job closing out a wonderful night.

The night would end in The Second Annual Cancer Benefit bringing in over eight hundred dollars worth of donations. Although it is a great amount of money, it does not grasp the true image of these bands that many people would pay general admission to watch. The night was filled with a range of personalities and diverse mix of music by musicians that I urge the world to get to know. These bands are constantly sending the message that they are being underestimated, and I agree. Fashion Party, C Carr Roberts, Cassette Culture, Okane Bank$, Max Gardener, Better Heroes, and The Moderns are all names you should get to know now rather than later.

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