As the leaders of creating a more eclectic, happening music scene in Downtown Riverside, the Penrose Record Room, hosted a live, in-store performance with the funk & soul band, The Charities on Saturday, Feb. 10. The band originally hails from Hermosa Beach, California, with its members currently being dispersed throughout various groovy coastal cities. It was an afternoon of firsts for many: the first time for The Charities to play a show in Riverside, the first time for some showgoers visiting the Record Room and the first celebration for The Charities’ release of their debut 7-inch record on Nu-Tone Records with “Bring Your Love” on the A-side and “Angel Eyes” on the B-side. 

The Charities played on the shop’s red-curtained corner stage, tucked into the room just enough to provoke the curious wanderers outside the basement entrance to be allured by the music and come on in. The six musicians hit the stage at 4 p.m., starting their set with stripped-down renditions of some earlier singles from their “Alma EP. Two microphones, five singers, and minimal drums throughout the set highlighted the group’s talent, which made the performance feel like an episode of 1990s’ “MTV Unplugged.” By the time they started playing the new singles, the shop was at maximum capacity, with fans, new and old, grooving and swaying to Brock Van Pelt’s sweet vocals, and the whole band’s charming vocal harmonies. Flexing their musical range, they also performed covers of Brenton Wood’s “I Think You’ve Got Your Fools Mixed Up” and The Beatles’ “Baby’s In Black.”

The set concluded with praise, applause and a whole lot of love. The band invited the crowd to stick around to chat, laugh and get their 45s signed (for the unfamiliar, this is the colloquial term for a 7-inch record with two singles on either side). Originally, The Charities were nearly sold out of their inventory of “Bring Your Love/Angel Eyes” vinyl while on their recent So-Cal tour run with Penrose artists, The Altons and The Sinseers, but the shop owners were able to secure a limited quantity of colored first-pressing copies for the Record Room performance. The line to buy a copy and get a chance to thank the band snaked through the shop, and the energy overflowed into the streets above Riverside’s brightest gem. 

The Charities are part of the familial, rapidly growing scene around Penrose Records, and though they aren’t signed to the label, their shared affinity for Oldies-inspired compositions puts them in the same playlists and rotations as big names like Thee Sacred Souls. Their Spotify lists over 28 thousand monthly listeners. In their artist biography, they illustrate the mechanics of “Bring Your Love,” which is “about finally getting the courage to share how you truly feel for a lover…it’s a melancholy minor tone with an upbeat tempo to reflect that nervous, anxious feeling when you’re about to be vulnerable.” 

After the show, the band’s bassist, Derek Doszkocs, shared his love and appreciation for the special space the Penrose Record Room has carved for Riverside’s souldies music and vinyl-collecting scene. “The stripped-down store performance was a long time in the making, and it really was a full-circle thing for us, getting to produce our single in the Penrose studio upstairs with Anthony Masino and then celebrating its physical release in-store downstairs – that’s the beauty of a spot like Penrose.”  Derek reminisced on the moments that stood out that day, like the fact that many people just stumbled in to browse records like any other day and were stoked to hear and meet the band and have a whole insulated experience of organically seeing an artist and supporting their craft like the days of yore before digital streaming was the norm. 

The band’s next gigs will be in Solana Beach on Mar. 15 and 16 at Belly Up. To get in the know about future performances at Penrose Record Room, following their Instagram page (@penroserecordroom) is your next best bet besides becoming a regular at the shop (which you should do anyway).