‘Chuckfest’ fundraiser delivers a smorgasbord of musical tastes

‘Chuckfest’ fundraiser delivers a smorgasbord of musical tastes
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TYNGSBORO — Chuck Kuenzler delivered.

This past weekend, the 17-year-old Dracut native followed through on his idea to hold “Chuckfest,” a daylong outdoor concert to raise money for Amnesty International.

The show, held at the Banjo Pub, was a rollicking good time. Seven bands played and $1,610 was brought in, $810 of which will be donated to the human-rights organization. The rest will go to pay off the sound system Kuenzler rented.

Kuenzler and the 100 or so people who came to the show couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sun shined bright throughout the day, allowing the punked-out teenagers to proudly display their rock-star outfits without having to worry about wearing jackets or hats.

Fishnet stockings, cutoff shirts, and shredded jeans were everywhere. Spiked hair and mohawks were also quite popular. Everyone looked great, in a slightly scary kind of way.

The music sounded great, too. Every genre, whether it be surf, rockabilly, punk, or classic rock ‘n’ roll was right on the money. The vocals were crystal clear, and the guitars jangled and rung beautifully throughout the backyard performance area at the Banjo Pub.

One of the more unusual acts was the Jonee Earthquake Band, of which the lead singer dresses like a pirate. They don’t sing sea shanties, though. The Manchester, N.H.-based band plays a frenzied blend of rockabilly and punk. Most of the kids in attendance hadn’t heard of this group, but it was obvious during the performance that the Jonee Earthquake Band was winning a lot of new fans.

The New Mexicans, a four-piece rock band from Dracut, were the most melodic group of the day. Their well-structured, singable numbers were engaging and downright fun to listen to. They played a blistering set of originals, but the highlight was their cover of the song of this summer — Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” It was amazing how similar it sounded to the original, surely a credit to the excellent musicanship of the band.

The grand finale of the day featured Piracy, a punk group from Lowell. During their set, most of the kids in the audience got up out of their seats and stood in front of the stage. Piracy played their instruments fast and hard, and as a result, they were screaming loud. During their first song –the excellent “Code Red” — Helen and Tony Wallace, an elderly couple from Lowell, had to get up and leave. The volume was too much for them. Piracy is for the youth only.

Even Kuenzler himself took the stage to play a Chuckfest anthem he wrote. It was a nice touch to a day that exceeded all of Kuenzler’s expectations.

“Hope to see you all at Chuckfest 2007,” said Kuenzler.