Band of Horses, Tom Morello, and BRMC strip down for Pablove

View more photos in the Pablove Benefit slideshow.

The Pablove Foundation has found a pretty hip way to raise money for kids with cancer by throwing benefit concerts with talent like Silversun Pickups, Neon Indian, Peter, Bjorn and John, and Avi Buffalo. Most of the performers have had to deal with cancer in their own way within their families or close by, a thing which is probably not to difficult to find anymore.

While Saturday's concert featured bands like Band of Horses, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Tom Morello and Sea Wolf, the night was overshadowed by the tone, and the reason we were all there, overshadowed the music. If you were expecting to see a high energy rock and roll show, the majority of what you got couldn't have been farther off. This was a place where all acts stripped down - Not to their skimmies, but to the bare bones, unplugged, overly aware, and a little self-conscious.

The humbled rock stars performed from two to four songs each in a room so quiet that even whispers were audible. When Tom Morello comes out saying "This is a song about sticking together, come what may" and plays "Guerrilla Radio" with a harmonica and colonial drum, Rage fans were stunned: Yes, you just heard Rage Against the Machine unplugged and completely recontextualized... in gypsy form.

Music has always been a way to speak messages to the masses. This particular night, Jeff Castelaz, father of Pablo Castelaz (whose life and heartbreaking demise at the claws of cancer prompted the birth of Pablove) brought his lessons and stories from his Pablove across America initiative. During his trek across the country, he visited pediatric cancer patients in hospitals all over the place. Earlier in the day he biked from Long Beach to Hollywood, the last leg of his national bike trek. "There was nothing I needed more than to get on this bike," he explained.

Jeff Castelaz and his Pablove Across America road bike at the Pablove Benefit Show at the Avalon, Hollywood CA
Jeff Castelaz and his Pablove Across America road bike at the Pablove Benefit Show at the Avalon, Hollywood CA

Hosting a rock show may seem like a slightly abrasive way to tribute a recent departure to a six year old child, however, Pablo was a kid who adored music. Josh Riffkind, an extremely likable guy with a huge mop of curly blonde hair on his head - like whoa - travels from his home in Atlanta once a month to visit the L.A. Children's hospital to play music for kids like Pablo.

Josh Riffkind performs at the Pablove Benefit Show at the Avalon, Hollywood CA
Josh Riffkind performs at the Pablove Benefit Show at the Avalon, Hollywood CA

Jeff Castelaz introduced the talented Mr. Riffkind: "He's gonna come out here, and bring us all back to our childhood years for one song, and you guys have to participate, and scream, and sing as loud as you can for all the kids down the block who are lying in beds right now hooked up to IV's getting chemotherapy. Can we do that!?" Riffkin then came out and explained to the crowd, "Okay guys, we're gonna ditch the hipster irony for FIVE seconds everybody!" and proceeded to lead the crowd in an amazing Jack Black-style rendition of "Wheels on The Bus." He not only urged, but bullied everyone to participate -- even did the swish-swish-swish hand motions. About his program Songs for Kids, Riffkind said, "Does Oprah not know about this? Oprah needs to know!"

A fan watches the Pablove Benefit show from the photo pit at the Avalon, Hollywood.
A fan watches the Pablove Benefit show from the photo pit at the Avalon, Hollywood.

The Pablove Foundation has been hosting a concert nearly every month, so stay tuned. Get your community service by participating in this fine assemblage of talented speakers, comedians, jokers, musicians, minstrels, survivors, people, friends.

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