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Rock for tots 

& & by Andrea Palpant & & & &

No, this isn't a hip rock concert with babies moshing in their PJ's. While the upcoming holiday event isn't meant to target four-year old music tastes, & & ROCK FOR TOTS & & does, in the end, benefit youngsters in need of a little holiday cheer and a few Christmas gifts.

Funded by and featuring three local bands, the Wednesday show at The Met is a benefit to aid the Toys for Tots Foundation. Started in L.A. in 1947 by Marine Corps Reserve Major Bill Hendricks, Toys for Tots is one of the nation's biggest Christmas charitable endeavors. In 1999 alone, it distributed 13.7 million toys to 5.9 million children.

"The three bands that are putting it on paid for it out of their pockets," says Robin Rivers, promotion director for the bands for this event. "This is really a community service thing, and, on the side, we'd like to get people out listening to local music in hopes of sparking some support and interest."

Emceed by local radio and TV personality Mark Peterson, the event will feature the alternative rock sounds of Spokane's own Somette, Vertigo Bliss and 50fifty. All three up-and-coming bands have been featured on local radio stations, including the Peak, and have recently released CDs to critical praise.

Somette's girl power band includes 18-year-old lead singer Jessica Keberle and sister/drummer Janelle, filled out by Traci Baker on guitar and keyboard. The band, which writes its own tunes, has won Spokane's Battle of the Bands two years in a row and continues to perform at local venues around the area.

"The cool part about them is they're all in high school," says Rivers. "They all go to Mead, and they play all over the place in coffee houses. They're really talented."

50Fifty includes front man Nate Corning, guitarist Jim Scollard and brothers Gabe and Casey Weaver-Burdette, who keep the beat with drums and bass. Their CD Stereophonic was released last May.

"I would call them Matchbox 20 with early Van Halen, that sort of thing," says Rivers. "They're a collective group that's been together a long time. Their sound is so full."

The raw, three-piece ensemble called Vertigo Bliss, which released their debut album, Focus, in March of 2000, is headed by Dave Kotland and joined by bassist Jack Stone and drummer Steve Hurlburt.

"They're the guys you can dance to," says Rivers. "They're kind of Foo-Fighters-ish."

Front man Dave Kotland is the brainchild behind the Rock for Tots event.

"It's important to support your community," says Kotland. "Spokane's too small to not have people helping each other out. Plus, the local scene is getting a lot of flack as far as music, so we wanted to showcase some local artists from the generation that's out there."

Rock fans of all ages are invited to attend the event. While the ticket fee does not include actual toys, the Marines will be on hand to accept any voluntary gifts of toys or cash donations. All proceeds will go to purchase presents for area children in need.

& & & lt;i & Rock for Tots with Vertigo Bliss, 50Fifty and Somette is at The Met on Wednesday, Dec. 20, at 7 pm. Tickets: $6 from G & amp;B or at the door. Call 325-SEAT. & lt;/i & & lt;/center &

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