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Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013

Pablove 4: A Night of Local Music for a Difficult Cause

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Like many fundraisers, the Pablove Benefit Concert was born of tragedy. In 2009, Jeff Castelaz and his wife Jo Ann Thrailkill lost their six-year-old son Pablo to cancer. Having managed some of the most successful Milwaukee bands of the ’90s, including Citizen King, The Promise Ring and The Gufs, before moving to Los Angeles to co-found Dangerbird Records, Castelaz maintained strong ties to the city, so his friends in the Milwaukee music scene decided to support him by doing what they do best: putting on a show.

Promoters Scott Ziel, Doug Johnson and Marc Solheim helped Castelaz organize the first Pablove Benefit Concert, a 2010 fundraiser for the non-profit Pablove Foundation that Castelaz and his wife created in their son’s honor. The concert, which featured a mix of local bands, new and old, has since become an annual tradition. It returns for a fourth year at the Turner Hall Ballroom on Saturday, Jan. 26.

“These shows take so much effort to organize, and there are probably a dozen people I could name that work on them each year, but they’re really a labor of love for Scott and Doug and Marc in particular,” Castelaz says. “For them, the shows are a response to the question of what to do when your friend’s son dies from cancer. How do you turn that into a positive thing? They’ve really put their souls behind these concerts.”

Like previous Pablove Benefit Concerts, this year’s will feature a reunion. An alternative rock band that seemed to be grooming itself for big things before breaking up abruptly in 2008, Northern Room, will headline the event, supported by three very different pillars of the current local scene: The Delta Routine, Kane Place Record Club and The Championship. As usual, proceeds from the concert will go toward pediatric cancer research.

“Because of the fact that fewer kids are diagnosed with cancer than adults, pediatric cancer gets less money allocated to it than adult cancer, so we’re focused on a column of the cancer world that is underserved by both the public and private sectors,” Castelaz explains. “The sad fact about cancer-treatment protocol is that the vast majority of treatments that children receive are adult treatments down-dosed for the smaller body mass of a child. Sometimes one size fits all in cancer treatment, but sometimes it doesn’t, so we need a better understanding of what effects these chemo or radiology treatments tested on adults will have on a child’s body. We need more research centered around child-specific treatments.”

Complicating that push, Castelaz says, is a reluctance many people have to talk or even think about a topic as difficult as childhood cancer.

“Every day we remind ourselves that cancer research is a slow-moving environment and of the fact that we are getting people and the public to pay attention to what we are doing and focused on, which is a hard thing for some people,” Castelaz says. “Children in dire medical situations aren’t something that a lot of people can focus on. It’s hard to even think about, so one of our big concerns is just being part of the cancer conversation. We understand that we’re part of a very difficult conversation, so just being able to get people to talk about it is a beautiful thing.”

Pablove 4 begins at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Turner Hall Ballroom.
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