‘I want to be a punk rock band’ Safe Space fundraiser


Just after Noah Skaiepz prompts the audience to throw paper balls at him, his theatrical performance takes it to the next level with a voiceover and sound effects. Taken by Ariana Powell, Jan. 30.

Noah Skaiepz, stage name Know Escapes, almost immediately took to the stage to begin his performance, which the performer himself would describe as “theatrical.” 

Some of the first words out of Skaiepz’s mouth were “Grab my fucking balls!” As 50 paper balls were passed around to be later thrown at the performer. For anyone who had the presence of mind to unravel one of the balls, they each said “Punks are nice people pretending to be bad and hippies are bad people pretending to be good.”

The theme of Skaiepz’s theatrical performance was “I want to be a punk rock band,” as he cycled through songs by punk rock legends including Green Day and Blink-182.

Fun is the smallest word possible that could be used to describe Skaiepz’s performance which included a blow-up doll, a hand puppet, costume changes, stage diving with an accordion and the voice of Joey Ramone back from the dead, as portrayed by Aron Burns. 

Skaiepz’s performance ended with the band’s rendition of “Blitzkrieg Bop,” including Skaiepz actually getting bopped by Burns, donning a mask with a blow-up bat that had the word “blitzkrieg” written on it.

The price Skaiepz paid for the night was two hyperextended knees, but the mosh pit his performance inspired helped bring in around $800 in profits for Safe Space Chico. SSC is a non-profit winter shelter that provides “low-barrier emergency shelter during the coldest winter months for people experiencing homelessness in Chico, California,” according to their website.

From ukuleles and violas to accordions and suitcase percussion, the Safe Space Fundraiser at The Naked Lounge Monday night defined the folk punk genre the event was advertised as being. The night started off with the powerful vocals of Bryce Goldstein.

Bryce Goldstein sings on The Naked Lounge stage under a blue light.
Bryce Goldstein looks up from her set list as she begins her set during the Safe Space fundraiser. Taken by Ariana Powell, Jan. 30.

Solo on-stage with a black, amped acoustic guitar, she shocked her audience with raw, encompassing vocals. Goldstein’s voice, with its cracks and octave changes, made her songs pop, as her set ebbed and flowed from folk to folk punk, and back again.

Goldstein said that some of her songs were “cringefully folk punk,” but they also served as a medium to express herself. One such folk punk song was regarding a decision that the City of Chico board made, something that reflects her own interests. She volunteers as a Butte Environmental Council member, City of Chico Planning Commissioner and with SSC.

All proceeds from the fundraiser went to the non-profit, and some of the night’s musicians even decided to donate their cut to the organization as well.

The audience was additionally encouraged to look into and sign Valley Edge’s referendum

“Here are the stylings of Henry Crook Bird, ca-caw,” Acie Schiff, the booker, said as they introduced Bird.

Henry Crook Bird strums a ukulele on stage at The Naked Lounge.
Henry Crook Bird plays “the runt of the litter,” a ukulele, part way through his set. Taken by Ariana Powell, Jan. 30.

Henry Crook Bird, the next performer, was one of those generous donors. 

His stylings diverged from Goldstein’s folk punk attitude. Bird’s folksy, tangy voice bled through the speakers. In a way, his lyrics mocked the stereotypical folk-style by putting a more sarcastic, bluntly-authentic spin on everyday emotions and life journeys.

“This next song is about funeral homes. I once had a friend ask me to play this at a wedding. I know I can’t be trusted, but I didn’t make that up,” Bird said.

By the time Bird switched modes by bringing out “the runt of the litter,” an amped ukulele that brought some light-heartedness to his set, the audience had filled out and most had begun dancing.

Bird, a math student at Butte College, loves to write songs about his “goofy, little town,” Marysville. He’s been performing for 12 years, starting on the streets of Galway, Ireland in 2011. Since then Bird released an album “Beyond The Gate” in June of last year.

“I don’t like songs about the rain, I’ve heard too many in my day,” Bird sang.

Michael Sinner, or King Strong, strums his guitar with his kazoo hanging in front of his mouth.
Michael Sinner, stage name King Strang, switches between singing and playing his kazoo during his jazzy, punk set. Taken by Ariana Powell, Jan. 30.

As Bird exited the stage King Strang, real name Michael Sinner, of the Bridge City Sinners, mounted the stage with a vintage suitcase that served as storage for his equipment, a bass drum and a stool. The bass drum mallet pounded against the suitcase, adding a deep reverberating tone to the jaunty, tinny sound of Sinner’s guitar and foot tambourine.

This fundraiser was Sinner’s first trip to Chico.

“I looked up things to see in Chico, and I saw that there’s a giant yo-yo … this [song] is about how I’m going to become a yo-yo champion someday,” Sinner said.

Sinner’s smile rarely left his face as he rocked through his set, and the audience couldn’t help but smile either. After mentioning how great it’d be to have a beer he was finally given one.

“Beer is my first love. This next one is about my second love. It’s a love song of sorts,” Sinner said.

As the night progressed Sinner’s foot tambourine seemed to possess his foot. After each song his tambourine solo would comically increase in length, making the audience laugh.

No matter how raucous the lounge became, everything was rightfully brought back around to SSC. Each performer asked the audience to donate or sign up to volunteer. Sinner added some humor to his appeal.

“We are trying to keep drugs and alcohol out of the hands of kids, so if you have any drugs and alcohol just give it to me,” Sinner said. “I’ll make sure it doesn’t get in the hands of kids. This song is ‘Cocaine.’”

A kazoo with a metal horn around Sinner’s neck was a consistent accompaniment that seemed to make the musician and audience laugh.

After being given the five minute warning by Schiff, Sinner finished his set off with a banger, song unknown as Sinner says “No set list! No fear!” Not The Same began to set up soon after.

Not the Same takes The Naked Lounge stage my storm with their punk, alt rock songs.
Left to right, Adil Syed, bassist, Vaughn Quinlan, guitarist, Logan Dunbar, vocalist, Donnie Housen, guitarist. Not The Same grants their audience an encore after being requested to do so. Taken by Ariana Powell, Jan. 30.

The stage became packed with musicians, a stark contrast to the solo artists that came before. Right as Not The Same’s vocalist, Logan Dunbar, stepped on stage in her black, sheer long-sleeved, skater skirt dress and black strappy pumps, the band’s aesthetics became obvious.

Coated in red lights, the black background’s bare brick section in the lower left corner stood out as alt rock-punk-style music began to circulate the room. Dunbar’s vocals were slightly hard to hear over the two guitars’ and single bass’s levels, but as she began to belt the lyrics out the room came under the band’s spell.

After the band’s short set the crowd began shouting “Encore! Encore!” After getting the go ahead from Schiff, Dunbar stepped forward and the band performed one last song.

“We are not the same, just as a lot of us are,” Dunbar said as the set ended the same way it began.

Spacey Acie and the Space Cadets is on stage at The Naked Lounge.
Left to right, Acie Schiff, guitarist and vocalist, Danny Colahan, vocalist and tambourinist, Noah Skaiepz, keyboardist. Spacey Acie and the Space Cadets begin their first ever performance together as the Safe Space fundraiser concludes at around 10 p.m. on Monday. Taken by Ariana Powell, Jan. 30.

The fundraiser concluded with Schiff’s band, Spacey Acie and the Space Cadets, sending their audience off with a set centered around authenticity and mental health. They kicked their set off with a song introducing each member’s pronouns.

Schiff, who battles with mental illness, likes to use their music as a way to aid themself and others who struggle in the same manner.

Schiff, creator of Far From Normal Productions, booked every band that performed at the fundraiser. They teach at Kai Music and Arts, the second event organizer. Together they were able to make a lasting impression on their audience and benefit their community and help those dealing with homelessness.

Kai Music and Arts, which opened at the end of 2022, was a collaborative effort on the behalf of multiple music community members. They have provided various services — including equipment set-up — for fundraisers in the past, such as one for Catalyst. Gary Smith, one of the business’s owners said that they’re currently planning a fundraiser to help out a popular local musician.

Smith asked Schiff, as part of Spacey Acie and the Space Cadets, to perform at the event. This could potentially be one of the few performances that the band does, as Monday night was their first.

Ariana Powell can be reached at [email protected].