“I can’t wait to do it again and again,” said Beastie Boys vocalist Jesse Moore. “Not a dull moment whatsoever. Legendary event.”
The world fell away when the band played the destructive opening notes of “Sabotage.” The crowd, so large it barely fit in the venue space, erupted in its chaotic dance.
On Aug. 26, the crew responsible for creating Hattiesburg’s nationally- known DIY and punk scene hosted a cover show at Spice World to raise donations for Baton Rouge flood victims. The event attracted almost 100 confirmed guests who raised a total of $382. The cover group lineup included Beastie Boys, Dead Kennedys, DYS, The B-52s, Minor Threat and Nirvana, respectively.
Spice World resident and local punk Sarah Krock helped organize the event and played bass for the DYS and Minor Threat cover groups. She said the idea to donate the funds to Baton Rouge flood victims came around the time “everyone started forming bands and learning the music.”
“I was and still am completely in awe of how great all the bands sounded and the amount of donations we collected,” Krock said. “I think it was the biggest turnout we’ve ever had.”
The punk crew, according to Krock, decided to give the donations directly to families in need in lieu of larger organizations.
“One of our close friends who lives in New Orleans has been working with a few different grassroots organizations that are helping families rebuild their homes and distribute other goods they may need,” she said.
DYS and Minor Threat guitarist Hampton Martin, who also had a hand in organizing the event, said the show’s end result was unimaginably successful.
“We raised more money than I even thought we would,” he said. “The whole night people were just going nuts, having tons of fun and singing along. I got to play cover sets of some of my favorite bands and watch my friends absolutely nail some of the best songs of all time.”
Martin and Krock both said they and the local punks had wanted to do a cover show for a long time. Porn Hall and Spice World familiars made appearances in almost every group – from Limbos vocalist Tyler Ricketts, who sang for Dead Kennedys, to Dumspell vocalist Mary Spooner, who sang for Nirvana.
Moore, also a familiar face, said preparing for the show required “very little effort.”
“I’ve been a massive Beastie Boys fan since I was like 8 years old, so I’ve been practicing those lyrics forever like a little twerp,” he said. “That was like a brief moment where it was a pleasure to channel my teenage self.”
Moore said the event was the “most energy-packed Hattiesburg DIY show there’s ever been.”
“The magic of cover shows is how inclusive for the audience they can be,” he said. “Everyone drops their guard and just goes off. When every person in attendance is singing along, you just get chill bumps and can’t wipe the smile off your face. The songs are fun to play, but the crowd participation took it to another level.”
Moore and his Beastie Boys team had chemistry enough that they needed only a single night to practice. During their set, they played “Sabotage,” “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)” and “Gratitude,” which Moore said is a “deeper cut” but sums up his outlook on life.
According to Martin, covering familiar music was a way to attract new people to the local scene.
“New people showing up at shows and starting bands is the only way a music scene can survive,” he said. “Nobody wants the same people at every show with the same bands every time.”
Martin said the punks put the show together at the beginning of the new school year so they could bring in any USM freshmen interested in joining the scene.
“You just know there’s got to be some new kid to Hattiesburg that moved here, doesn’t know anybody really, listens to Black Flag or something and wished they could go to punk shows,” he said.
The punk scene cares. Repeatedly and without dissent, its members call those around them their family. Martin said he was once that kid who wanted to go to punk shows. But since he started his own, there now exists a place where the like-minded can congregate and welcome those without a social home.
Martin said, “I want to find those people.”