Free Concerts Keep Skateboarding And Rock Connected

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"The genesis of the Skate & Rock Free Concert Series was to bring live music into our skate park," says Barry Blumenthal, a skater who helped put together the upcoming concert series and also assisted in raising funds to build the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark just west of downtown.

"Skateboarding and rock and roll have always been connected at the hip," Our goal is to keep it that way."

A live-music festival in Houston's 30,000 square-foot, downtown skate park seems like a no-brainer, but Blumenthal is the first to make it happen. Rocks Off assumed that he was using the recent successes of Free Press Summer Fest as something of an inspiration, Blumenthal insists that the Skate & Rock Series is a different beast.

"There probably are some common skaters and concert-goers at Summer Fest, however the similarities between the two events are very few," he said. "Skate & Rock is free, and there is no profit motive."

Blumenthal will be satisfied if the event goes well, but he isn't looking for any sort of monetary gain.

"My hope is (that) the skate park will become a place where you want to be, as a skater or a music fan. Moreover, I want the park to become a place where musicians and skaters meet and decide to start bands."

All three bands involved in the show are skaters, or at least have members who are skaters. Most of them met Blumenthal at the park, voiced their eagerness to perform and were put on the bill.

"I was skateboarding at the park, and (Blumenthal) was there. I overheard him talking to someone about the skate park series, so I went up and started talking to him," says Elijah Allen-Ross Kelley, the founder, manager and guitarist for Disfrutalo!

"I had a flyer for one of our shows... he called me back later and was like, 'I checked out the music... it's some pretty trippy stuff.'"

Having seen Disfrutalo! perform once before at Dean's Credit Clothing, we can assure our readers that they alone are reason enough to visit the skate park tomorrow. Bring your board if you want to, because all three bands will be happy to be the soundtrack to your lazy, skateboarding Saturday.

"Even people who don't skate can have fun there," Kelley said. "There's a grassy spot where they can lay out towels and bring drinks or whatever. There are always plenty of people there on a normal day, and I'm sure there will be even more on Saturday."

Kelley also plans to whip out the didgeridoo at Saturday's show, because it always gets a rise out of the crowd. Besides that, he can also play it quite well.

"Lee and Joe Jamail Skate Park is a special place to enjoy a concert. There is really no other place like it in the entire city," Blumenthal says.

"The spectators enjoy a sensory overload experience. The energy of the bands interacting with skaters and vice versa combined with our skyline as their backdrop is amazing."

Also with Talk Sick Brats and Crimewave, 7 p.m. Saturday, April 16, at Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

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