El West have put on benefit concerts before. Last September, the local quartet, known for their distinct vocals and sweeping rock guitar, performed at Valley Bar for the Third Annual Grey Matter Benefit Concert to raise funds for the Barrow Neurological Institute. The reason for the band’s upcoming charity show, which takes place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, at Angel's Trumpet Ale House Arcadia, hits even closer to home.
Kim Trocki, the half-sister of the quartet’s drummer, Marty Welker, had recently become engaged and was enjoying life to the fullest. But things took a turn in April, when she had a seizure at her workplace. According to Welker, she had not shown any symptoms before the episode. Doctors scrambled to pinpoint the cause of the seizure. They prescribed steroids to help and her condition started to improve.
Then things got worse.
After several procedures, including one where a portion of Trocki’s skull was removed to drain the cerebrospinal fluid that cushions the brain, she was eventually diagnosed with brain cancer. She would have to undergo chemotherapy and then physical therapy. She hasn’t been able to speak in the last few weeks, but understands what is happening. Welker and his family have been visiting her nonstop.
“It’s just been a nightmare,” Welker says. “I’ve had a hard time accepting this.”
Despite the chaos, the family remains optimistic about Trocki’s recovery. Luckily, she has insurance to help with costs, but it won’t cover all the medical expenses, so a GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds. As of writing, they are currently past the halfway mark to their $125,000 goal.
During this time, Welker reached out to his friends for help. When he told his bandmates (vocalist Bryant Powell, guitarist Thomas Brenneman, and bassist Ricky Powell) what was going on, they immediately began thinking of ways to help. A benefit for Trocki felt like the perfect way to support their friend. Brenneman, who is also a manager at Angel's Trumpet, called up the owners and things came together rather quickly.
“They felt for the situation' and wanted to help out any way they could,” recalls Brenneman. “We’ve done benefits before' and we have a strong idea of what goes into them.”
“I was definitely floored,” says Powell. “I have more respect for him than ever due to the fact that he is reacting incredibly strong. I wish we could do a lot more, but this is something we can do now for our friend and his family.”
In addition to the concert, there will be a silent auction and one-of-a-kind T-shirts for Trocki, with all proceeds going toward her GoFundMe campaign. A percentage of the sales from a special food and drink menu that evening will be donated by Angel’s Trumpet Ale House toward the cause. Pineapple Mules, one of Trocki’s favorite cocktails, will also be served.
Welker says even if fans can’t make the show or afford a donation, they can leave words of encouragement in the comment section to show their support.
El West: Kim's Benefit. 7 p.m. Saturday, July 13, at Angel’s Trumpet Ale House Arcadia, 2339 North 44th Street; angelstrumpetalehouse.com. Tickets are $5 at the door.