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It’s a Tuesday night on Mission Street. The streets are pretty sparse, restaurant parklets cycle through dinner guests, everyone’s worrying about getting through hump day.

But if you stumble upon The Knockout on Mission at the end of Valencia, you might think it was Saturday.

Before the sun has even fully set, the charming little dive bar known for hardcore shows and bingo is packed with punks, shoegazers and music fans ready to drink Pabst Blue Ribbons and mosh in mourning.

Dozens of people, dressed in everything from patched-up vests to cherub-print pants, are expressing their anguish as punks do, so bodies are slamming into one another, sending an occasional PBR can flying through the air. It’s exactly what Scott “Alcoholocaust” Rogers would have wanted. The legendary punk promoter and booker for bands died from cancer at age 54 in June.


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This week, proud deviants have been gathering to sip, thrash around and honor Rogers’ legacy in torn up T-shirts, mullets and rolled-up beanies.

The Tuesday lineup is a geographical blend — Almond Joy, a new band formed in quarantine and based in San Francisco, Portland travelers Nick Normal, Oakland’s Toner and the headliners, Pardoner, whose members met as students at San Francisco State University. In turn, each band relents a “Rest in Peace, Scott” amidst guitar riffs and head-banging. One by one, they take to the stage, a relatively small platform framed by a sequined sheet across the back wall and a disco ball overhead.

This is a punk show, so there’s no punctual start and no one has prepared a speech. Colin Burris of Pardoner sums it up in a break between songs: “This is for Scott. He helped a lot of bands out in this city, and he will be missed forever.” The crowd begins to chant, “Scott, Scott, Scott!” Guitar riffs ensue.

And it’s loud. Isa Einaudi-Cardiff, a Berkeley native who has been going to punk shows across the Bay Area since she was in high school, says, “This is the first time I’ve wanted earplugs.” She’s most excited about Toner and Pardoner, who inspire mosh pits so chaotic and exerting that sweat splatters on the rest of the crowd.

Pardoner performed as the headlining act at Tuesday night’s memorial show for Scott “Alcoholocaust” Rogers at The Knockout in San Francisco. During the set, bassist Colin Burris said, “This is for Scott. He helped a lot of bands out in this city, and he will be missed forever.” (Photo courtesy Isa Einaudi-Cardiff)

It’s a scene where you’re likely to become the casualty of a half-full can of PBR, catch an elbow in the face or get rejected at the bar if you ask for anything more complicated than a beer and a shot. No one appears to be bleeding, yet.

“The last time I was in a mosh pit I partially dislocated my shoulder,” Einaudi-Cardiff says, smiling. Someone in the crowd shouts out, “This is like the before times!”

For some, it may be one of the first shows they’ve been to — let alone been sardined into the standing area by the stage — in over a year, and one of the first that Rogers didn’t have a hand in, considering he’s facilitated thousands.

Rogers made a name for himself as a prolific point of connection between bands and venues over the last two decades, even in the face of a rapidly gentrifying San Francisco. Social media and music blogs are flooded with tributes to his memory, describing him as selflessly committed to the music, perhaps a little unkempt and, in the words of Street Eaters and Fleshies’ John No, a man deeply invested in San Francisco, “a wildass but ethical and organized dynamo man-tree who lived exactly as he wanted without compromise.”

Both the crowd and performers on Tuesday agree. Tika Hall plays bass in Almond Joy, but she’ll also be performing later in the week with her other band, Warp. She’s in pigtails and a blazer/dress hybrid to snazz it up for Rogers’ tribute, a man she says, as many others have said, was enduringly positive and welcoming in a crowd that, from the outside, looks anything but.

“He was always in a good mood somehow,” she says, “always present, and he was really funny. He just loved music; he probably booked like, half the shows that I ever played in San Francisco.”

Other tributes and obituaries have referred to Rogers’ booking choices as a meritocracy, rooted in talent and potential, not hype or prescribing to who’s really punk enough. As one of the only two women playing Tuesday, Hall is grateful for the opportunities she knows others have been denied.

“As a woman playing music, he always had shows for me,” she says. “And it was never like I was the only woman playing a show; he was always including a lot of different people in the community,” and promoting diversity in a way others in the scene weren’t.

The future, unfortunately, has a new hole to fill, and rising COVID cases due to the Delta variant have states and counties reinstating mask and distancing mandates. El Rio, another Mission bar and venue that Rogers frequented, was intending to host a daytime tribute concert this Saturday, but organizers have since canceled the event and planned a quieter outdoor gathering on Friday.

Scott “Alcoholocaust” Rogers, a legendary San Francisco punk promoter who died at age 54 in June, was honored in a series of shows at The Knockout. (Photo courtesy Mikhail Zubovich)

If you made it out on a weekday, congratulations. As reopening and remaining open become more complex, the question of Rogers’ successor weighs on the community. So far, there’s no heir apparent, and maybe there shouldn’t be.

“It’s hard to book shows, and I’m kind of worried: I don’t know who’s gonna do it now,” Hall says. “It’s gonna take a bunch of people to, like, really fill what he did for the community.”

But punks don’t stress — or rather, they tend to channel their stress into chaos. While the loss of Rogers hangs heavy in the air, someone with a mullet is crowd-surfing.