Marianarchy in Reno: All good things end in Gass

Tahoe Onstage

Wily Savage displays metal and prog with Oingo Boingo sensibilities.
Tony Contini / Tahoe Onstage photos

Nick Ramirez and Rory Dowd have put together a biannual benefit concert for the last 15 years. Marianarchy features mostly local acts and each year a member of the local Reno community who has recently needed medical attention (or just needs a leg-up) gets the spotlight.

The first Marianarchy was a benefit show for Ramirez’s girlfriend Marianne Psota. She contracted an airborne disease and the benefit helped with her hospital bills.

Four years later she passed away after having a seizure. Ramirez said his world was destroyed. Their friends put together a memorial show at his house. After, he decided to have a benefit in her honor (Marianarchy was a nickname of hers) for someone in the community who needed help.

“I find organizing and executing these benefits helped and continues to help me deal with the grief and loss,” Ramirez said. “By celebrating her love of the Reno music and art scene and giving something positive back. Every time we do Marianarchy, I feel a wonderful sense of community, love and support.”

This year, proceeds went to Shelby Paxton, a bartender who recently broke her leg in a car accident, leaving her unable to do her job.

“It has been amazing and honestly a little overwhelming,” Paxton said in an interview. “This is why I love Reno so much, we always come together and help out our family in need.”

The festivities took over both gigantic rooms at Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor. Throughout Friday evening and Saturday starting in the afternoon, the bar portion of the venue was a swinging door of musicians and gear. The lineup was diverse and included Wily Savage of Los Angeles, Heterophobia, Johnny Harpo and Wes Forster of Rigorous Proof, RenoWeHaveAProblem, Ummm Jr. and Ozymandias.

Dysfunctional’s drummer does it all.

Some of the bands are used to the casino circuit like Dysfunctional, a four-piece acoustic cover band who’s frontman plays an electronic drum kit.

Playing drums, singing and sounding like Gavin Rossdale or Scott Weiland is no easy feat. And I’m a true sucker for Matchbox 20, so I enjoyed their set.

“Oh my God,” I overheard the sound guy say. “I’m seriously having the best time right now.”

Other bands screamed through punk sets and Wily Savage gave a fantastic performance demonstrating their hybrid fusion of metal and prog with Oingo Boingo sensibilities.

Between sets, Dowd and Ramirez raffled off prizes. Along the walls of the venue were numbered pieces of art by local artists included in a silent raffle.

All of the excitement from the first leg of the event spilled over to the main showroom where Kyle Gass of Tenacious D was set to play.

Dowd and Ramirez switched gears and ran over to open for the acoustic metal God. Their band One Ton Dually warmed up the crowd for KG.

Rory Dowd of One Ton Dually.

Gass came out like mid-summer Santa Claus in sweats and a white-T.

The Kyle Gass Band had an upbeat Thin Lizzy vibe and played some hilarious songs about the bro code and fuckability of certain bandmates.

“You want to know where the name came from?” Gass asked the crowd. “It’s derived from my name. We thought, ‘Who’s the most famous in the band?’ and my name came up.”

Gass has been a comedic actor for decades. He rivals Andy Richter at small role excellence with IMDB nuggets like Bar Dude and Winter Weirdo.

Gass is my girlfriend’s dad if he rocked. And I love him.

He has a way of making anything metal; from acoustic guitar and silly songs to looking like a grandfather and shredding recorder solos. Yes, recorder. The man is sublimely good at the instrument. After removing one of them from their holster (yes, he has multiple for extended octaves, and yes, he has a holster for them), the audience was immediately transported to a lush glen surrounded by elves and sprites.

After years of watching him rip solos out of an acoustic guitar between Jack Black verses, it was a little awkward seeing him take such a backseat.

There were many songs where he didn’t sing lead or backup and one of the band’s lead guitarists played the solos. Gass was left conducting with a beer in one hand and one of his recorders in the other.

I didn’t think this would be the case, but the Kyle Gass Band needs more Kyle Gass!

But how dare I drink from a golden chalice and then ask for more?

Perhaps we were watching what Gass is best at: facilitating the rock!

He gathers all the parts needed then sends them loose.

He got into a cute argument with a fan about who rocks more.

“No you!”

”No you!” They went back and forth.

“Without a crowd, were just rehearsing,” Gass said.

My conclusion: Gass is a God-like figure and anyone he shares the stage with shines like the heavens.

— Tony Contini

And on the 8th day, God said, “I am Kyle Gass.”

Wily Savage

Tahoe Onstage


One Ton Dually

Kyle Gass Band










About Tony Contini

Photographer and journalist Tony Contini graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in art photography. He loves working with bands and telling stories. Photography portfolio:

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