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Countdown is on to 5th Summer Meltdown concert

Trapt, Stephen Perkins, The Craze, Maxwell Smart, Renfue highlight May 10 concert bill.

Posted: April 14, 2008 5:54 p.m.
Updated: June 15, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Stephen Perkins, renowned Jane's Addiction drummer, will lead a huge drum circle at Summer Meltdown Saturday, May 10 at Golden Valley High's outdoor amphitheater.

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With April being recognized as national "Autism Awareness Month," the final countdown is on to the 2008 "Summer Meltdown Autism Awareness and Social Inclusion Concert."

The fifth annual marathon rock festival, produced by the William S. Hart Union High School District's Yes I Can students all spring semester, is an all-ages event set for Saturday, May 10 in the outdoor amphitheater at Golden Valley High School in Canyon Country.

Nearly a dozen bands will take the stage between 2:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., and admission is $10 in advance ($20 at the door) for the entire concert.

Proceeds will go to cover the costs of producing the show, and anything left over will help fund the Yes I Can program throughout the school year and seed preparations for next year's event.

Headlining this year's Summer Meltdown is Trapt, who captured the No. 1 spot on the U.S. modern rock chart with the single "Headstrong" and will unleash their third full-length studio album this summer, "Only Through the Pain."

Trapt is huge among teens and drew thousands of kids to their most recent gig in central California, according to Bret Lieberman, director of the Yes I Can program at Golden Valley, and the students' primary Meltdown mentor.

"We hope the band's drawing power will help make this year's Meltdown concert a big success," he said.

Preceding Trapt's performance, Stephen Perkins, much-lauded drummer of Jane's Addiction, will lead all the Yes I Can students plus the drummers of each Meltdown band in a massive on-stage drum circle, Lieberman said.

"When Stephen Perkins first heard about the Summer Meltdown and the Yes I Can program he knew he wanted to be involved," he said. "He called right away and asked what assistance he could offer. The drum-circle idea was launched."

Perkins will bring a large collection of bongos, drums and percussion instruments, donated by Summer Meltdown cosponsors Remo and DW just for the occasion.

Highlighting the Meltdown lineup for the third year in a row is The Craze, whose new wave rockabilly raveups were so well-received by music fans at the week-long 2008 SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas, the band rocked the town five nights straight. Based in Lancaster, The Craze records for the Dynatone label.

Also on the bill (not in order of appearance) are Guilt by Association, who won Battle for Ozzfest and have been featured on MTV2 and Fuse; Conjob, described by Lieberman as "311 meets the Pussycat Dolls meet Ozomatli" and which has shared the stage with Black Eyed Peas; Un:armed, a three-piece group combining rock, melodies and catchy hooks whose set at the recent Amgen "Rock the Bike" event was canceled due to rain; Mission Black, a rock-hybrid band fronted by Command Studios sound engineer Chris Collier on lead vocals and guitar ("Pantera meets Hoobastank meets The Used," Lieberman said).

The lineup also features Cry Havoc, making noise on the SCV and L.A. club scene, has been featured on KROQ-FM's "Locals Only" night, and shared bills with bands such as Ignite, Pennywise and Alien Ant Farm; Surface Rising, a Canadian band produced by Ron Saint Germain (Creed, Tool, 311, Soundgarden) "the (Yes I Can) kids describe as 'Incubus meets Faith No More,' and if you like early Incubus, this will be your new favorite band," Lieberman said); Maxwell Smart, the snappy ska band from Chatsworth ("They'll keep the party going and have everyone dancing," he said); and Renfue, the hottest band coming out of the SCV right now according to local rock promoters Higher Level Productions ("Get to the Meltdown EARLY to catch Renfue...you will not be disappointed!" Lieberman said).

"We want this to be the biggest Meltdown ever," said Jason Curtis, a senior at Golden Valley High and a Yes I Can participant. "Trapt is amazing and we have booked a mix of different styles of music for everyone to enjoy. We created the Summer Meltdown concert five years ago, and look how big it has become. We're inviting the entire valley to come out to GVHS on May 10 and see what we mean by our slogan, 'Unity through music and education.'"

"We need the support of the community, because we're doing something groundbreaking here - using music to break down social barriers," Lieberman said. "We're like the 'School of Rock' meets concert production meets Autism Awareness!"

The Yes I Can program has made a positive difference in the lives of hundreds of special-needs students, most of whom are diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger's Syndrome, which deeply inhibits communication and social skills.

"My students were lost socially when it came to fitting in due to having autism...now they pull out their iPods, talk about MTV bands and are just another of the many kids on campus," Lieberman said. "Music can be a powerful tool and we talk about music every day in the 'Yes I Can' class at Golden Valley.

"The students joke around that one day the Summer Meltdown will be so big, we'll have to take it to the Staples Center," he added. "I told them I hope to be retired by then."

A series of fundraisers and initial sponsorships have helped raise a good portion of the $17,000-$20,000 Lieberman estimates it will cost to stage this year's Summer Meltdown concert, but not all of it. Now, with less than a month to go before the event, it's crunch time.

The next fundraiser will be at Mountasia Friday, May 2, from 4 p.m. to closing. The $19.99 entry buys unlimited bumper-boat and go-kart rides, plus unlimited video games, laser tag, miniature golf and climbing the rock wall.

Mountasia will contribute 50 percent of each ticket toward producing the Summer Meltdown.

Meanwhile, Lieberman said, "We are still looking for additional sponsorships from anyone or any company who wants to be involved in this amazing event.

"We need to raise more funds to pay for rental of professional sound, lighting systems, generators, barricades, food for the performers and guests, and the posters and flyers we've produced to promote the concert," he said.

"It's never too late to help out by making a donation to our cause."

To purchase $10 tickets online and get complete Summer Meltdown show info, visit www.summermeltdown2008.com.

For more info about the Yes I Can program and sponsoring Summer Meltdown, contact Lieberman at (661) 298-8140 ext. 1414 or visit www.sponsorthemeltdown.com.

The Signal is a proud Media Sponsor of Yes I Can's 2008 Summer Meltdown concert.

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