The most surprising thing about last Friday’s “Mosh for Orlando” show in Chula Vista wasn’t that local punks played for free for the Pulse/Orlando victims, it’s that it was held by a church. And moshing was welcomed.
871 Harold Place, Chula Vista
“I believe in the passion of punk and hardcore,” says Francisco Garcia-Velasquez, a minister of the First United Methodist Church in Chula Vista. He spearheaded the opening of the 250-capacity meeting place called the Industry, a spiritually motivated, all-age, no-alcohol venue built in a Chula Vista industrial park warehouse that offers optimism through aggressive rock.
...Mizery live (2015)
Another Orlando fundraiser is planned for Friday, July 1, with local pop-punk bands, and on Sunday, July 3, the Industry hosts a thrash-fest organized by the Lemon Grove Punks and headlined by local thrash band Mizery.
“New music venues don’t exactly pop up in San Diego anymore,” says Mizery frontman Jose Gonzales. He was speaking by phone from Miami last week just before a show at the Granary. The two-year-old Chula Vista-based metal-core band (think the Cro Mags or Bad Brains) was wrapping up a 16-date tour. “Every other place [in San Diego] has closed. When it comes to punk there isn’t a lot of revenue [in promoting punk shows]. For us now it’s just the Industry and the Ché.”
Gonzales, who does not drink, says he gets what the Industry is all about.
“This gives kids a chance to hang out and dance and get their aggressions out instead of hanging out on the street, doing drugs, or killing themselves.”
Still, one does not normally link moshing with Methodists.
“It looks aggressive, but everybody takes care of each other,” says the Industry creator Garcia-Velasquez. “We want to make all people feel welcome and be hospitable to everyone... We want to stage these shows in a co-ownership way with the bands and the guests.”
He says he wants people to think of a church beyond its traditional uses for Sunday morning services or as a host for Girl Scout or AA meetings.
“We want the Industry to be a forum to discuss topics like immigration, LBGQ solidarity, or environmental awareness. We want to invest in the community and address issues like human-trafficking and homelessness.”
Garcia-Velasquez, a graduate of Duke University Divinity School, does not mandate that the bands sanitize their lyrics or their posters for shows at the Industry. “I have a long-time passion with punk and hardcore.”