Entries Tagged 'Reviews' ↓

Show Review for Saint Motel at Martini Ranch on 7/23/13

By: Paula Tesoriero 

It’s Tuesday night and I enter Martini Ranch whilst the sounds of well-pitched wailing encompass my hearing. It’s the second to last song of up and coming band Swimm’s set. From what little I saw of this group, I can say that I would definitely not be opposed to catching them next time they make their way to Arizona. That being said, my mind was on what was next, that is what exactly this evening would have in store for me when a band like Saint Motel is on the bill.

If there’s one word I could use to describe last night, it would be “hair”. The gents from both Swimm and Saint Motel have the most fabulous of hairstyles. If their music wasn’t going for them, their hair most certainly would be. Soon enough Saint Motel came onstage. I was beyond excited to see that they had added a saxophone player to the live set up. They started their set with Honest Feedback. It was a solid opening song because of its upbeat and sing-along-able nature. It was refreshing and surprising to see them utilize alternate beginnings to their songs. They began the song “Butch” with guitarist Aaron Sharp slowly singing the lyric “I can see us walking down the aisle” in an impressive falsetto while lead singer AJ Jackson would join in with harmony. This built up to the songs regular tempo with the addition of drumming. It was an intense yet beautiful beginning. In the middle of their set they played their new song “My Type”, which just so happened to be released only yesterday. A friend and I joked about how it was the perfect song to go roller-skating in while wearing shorts held up by suspenders. It’s a very disco-esque song, but like most of Saint Motel’s music, it provides great entertainment.

They ended the evening’s performance with a spirited rendition of “Puzzle Pieces”. This was one that more of the crowd knew, and many on the 21+ side of the stage had no problems with letting go and dancing along to that groovy piano riff. In the beginning of the show, Jackson seemed a little bit distracted, but by the end of it his concentration seemed to only focus upon being completely involved in the music he played, which only made the show that much better.

  

Show Review for D33J, Houses, and Baths at Crescent Ballroom on 6/26/13

By: Conner Chase

The night began with D33J and the comforting sound of waves crashing on a beach. This sound paints a very serene image of what was to come, that being an onslaught of cosmic sounds and ambient atmospheres which were both extremely impressive and perfect for setting the stage for the rest of the music this fine Wednesday evening had in store. Armed with his guitar, laptop, and pad controller, D33J beautifully constructed sincere and creative soundscapes with nostalgic sounds and jazzy undertones. Saxophone loops, bass to spare, crazy oscillating delays; you name it, it was omnipresent. Whenever I see artists like this perform, I am always stupefied at all of the sounds and atmospheres one person can create with few pieces of hardware triggering some sexy fades and beat repeat effects. I guess if I had to describe the performance in one word, I would quote D33J himself and call it, “chill”. Super chill.

One thing I always stick by when I attend concerts is to never miss seeing the opening band, and I am so glad I was there to see Houses play their set. I’m a sucker for bands who can successfully combine electronic elements and real instruments to create one collective atmosphere, and Houses freaking nailed it. The dynamic and enthralling performance they delivered was oozing with emotion and feeling, and these kind of feelings resonate with the audience in a huge way. A good way to describe their sound would be a representation of childhood melancholia and wonder, filled with references to trailer parks and exploding with a magically innocent and dynamic essence. Another aspect about their performance I really enjoyed was that none of the band members looked like they were put out or too cool to be where they were; they were all engaged, they were all moving, and you could tell that their performance held meaning. Dripping reverbs, amazingly synced guitar delays and echoes, and wonderful performance chemistry combined with a very engaging light show courtesy of whoever was working the lighting board made this a great experience that I’m glad I didn’t miss.

The time finally came for the main event to unfold. Will, known better as Baths, took the stage looking super casual in a tank top and shortish shorts, looking like he just came back from a hike,  with his friend and producer Morgan armed with an onslaught of gear including but not limited to an full keyboard, guitar,  a couple computers, and pad controllers for the whole family. As the tunes unfolded I was absolutely blown away by the incredible synchronization of complex rhythms, extremely wide ranged vocal lines, and intricate live recorded loops. These two worked so incredibly well with each other and their plethora of gadgetry that I had absolutely no idea what was going or how they were creating what I was hearing.

The whole set was also overflowing with some of the most genuine emotion and sincerity that I have ever felt. Every single song, even those that were particularly dark, depressing, and angry, you could feel that every word was being delivered right from his soul, and this in itself was both brave and beautiful. Combine this unfiltered expression of a wide variety of emotions with the masterful execution these two displayed and you’ve got the perfect recipe for quite a great show. Will himself seemed charmingly sincere and befuddled, which made sense after expressing that he was basically delirious after swimming laps for two hours at his hotel; luckily for Will, these personal stories and his great sense of humor made him extremely engaging and identifiable to the audience. Simply put, what Will exhibited was art in the truest sense, he fearlessly expressed intensely deep emotion and radiated his essence for everyone to experience and take away from. Enjoying an artist’s music is one thing, but when they make you FEEL, that is where the real magic lies.

After the show, I understood why Will named his project Baths, as I too felt like I needed to submerge myself to decompress and digest all of the incredible jams Will and Morgan brought to Crescent Ballroom.

Show Review for White Arrows and !!! (Chk Chk Chk) at Crescent Ballroom on 5/28/13

By: Paula Tesoriero

Oh my !!!. This concert could not have been more unexpected. I’ve listened to !!! (Chk Chk Chk) before but never had the interest to watch videos of them performing live, and I think that was definitely a good idea. If you intend to read on, all I can say is SPOILER ALERT. If you’d rather wait for the ultimate surprise of seeing !!! live without any knowledge of what that show has in store for you, click that red “X” up top right now. Conversely, if you don’t mind, then by all means do advance.

White Arrows came onstage shortly after DJ Jared Alan finished an impressively mood setting set. This was my 5th time seeing them, and I have to admit that unfortunately they were a bit disappointing this time round. There were a few technical complications during the first couple of songs, which could certainly have affected their attitudes. None of the band members seemed too much involved in the music they were performing. They often allowed their eyes to wander aimlessly about, including up towards the ceiling: not exactly a crowd pleasing attitude. Perhaps this was the reason for their music missing unity. The vocals seemed to be searching often for notes. They skirted around the intended tone which was also a bit difficult to listen to. While it wasn’t their best performance, or near the best, there were some catching moments to their show. First off, before they began “City Boy”, lead singer Mikey Church donned a turquoise shaded wig and proceeded to wear it until a few songs later when it began to fall off during a very spirited improvisational tune. Whilst looking around the crowd, I had a few revelations. First off, if you plan on dancing at a show, I suggest you don’t wear head jewelry, because it’s just not going to work. Second, that White Arrows has a very dedicated following of young adults here in Phoenix. These kids were having quite a time throughout their set, and they didn’t seem to care much about the quality of the music. White Arrows ended with a song not off of any released album, titled “The Woods”. As they left the stage I must admit I was not in the most energetic of moods, I even was tempted to leave a bit early. However…

Ho Ho Holy CHK CHK CHK. What more can be said about this band? Not much, but I’ll do my best. First off, I was extremely grateful of the fact that there wasn’t too much of a wait between acts. They came on stage, did some final sound checking, and began. Soon enough lead singer Nic Offer jumped on stage with a handful of towels and immediately began his phenomenal and Jagger-esque dance moves. There is no way to not dance along with this man. He will often sing, dance, stare, and at times even sweat in your face, making it nearly impossible for you to not invest yourself totally into their performance. The energy of the evening was incredible! Offer’s dance moves took me by surprise and by the end of the show I myself could hardly stop moving to internal music. The band itself, though under-shadowed by the phenomenal activity being showcased in front of them, was quite impressive. Offer’s stage presence was even found off stage at times. He ventured out into the crowd while singing and Mick Jaggering right in front of selected individuals, who simply enjoyed the moment by leaving cares behind and dancing along. During their song “One Boy/One Girl” they brought up a lady, whose name I believe is Sarah Mac (?). All I know is that Offer stated how it was time for a Sarah Mac Attack. Though she did not necessarily attack anything/anyone, her performance was exquisite. Such soul, such style, the only thing she lacked in were dance moves as suggestive as Offer’s, though for that I am thankful. After their encore song when all let loose entirely and allowed the music and mood to take over their bodies and bring about a dance party, I can tell you I was regretful to leave.

A few friends and I had a short talk with Nic Offer and even exchanged dance move tips (his hip-based move secrets for a simple Bernie move, not exactly a fair trade but he accepted it). It was definitely one of the most entertaining shows I’ve ever been to, and if !!! happen to come through Phoenix again, I highly suggest you boogie on down to catch that show, and when I say boogie, I mean boogie.

Show Review for Wooden Indian, Black Carl, and Ladylike at Crescent Ballroom on 12/22/12

Tis the season for good music, falling apples (the computer kind of course), candy hurling, and all around good times. This past Saturday evening at Crescent Ballroom combined every one of these elements into the most delightful of times.

Wooden Indians started the night out with a very chill and intriguing set. I use the word intriguing not only because of their two drummers, at times two bass players, and their complex song writing technique. Nay, mostly because the singer decided that even though there was a microphone in front of his face, he would sing as quietly as possible. Aside from the vocals being difficult to hear well, their set was undeniably alluring. As singer Wally Boudway switched places a few times with other members to do things like play guitar while singing or playing the drums, I couldn’t help but stare at him in awe.

The much awaited Black Carl came onstage next. I looked past my caged surroundings and the 21+ side was quite packed with people ready to dance it up. Having never seen this band live before, I can honestly say I was beyond impressed, and that everything I’ve heard about them is true, everything good that is. Lead singer Emma Pew sang into her golden microphone with a voice that never faltered or failed her. All of the notes she wanted to sing, she did. The rest of the band onstage danced and had fun. My only qualm with this set is that the backup singer could have been a bit louder. The harmonies he was hinting at would have magnified the performance. However, with or without them the set was quite notable.

Ladylike’s front man Rob Kroehler sauntered onstage and started singing “The Christmas Song”. This simple rendition of the song with only him performing was a great opening to the rest of their set. Soon enough the rest of the members joined him and energy filled a slightly emptier room. Those who stayed around for Ladylike (it was getting a bit late) were still ready to dance and have a good time, since the majority of them were taking part in holiday festivities at the bar. Ladylike put on a good show. They had their instruments hidden behind structures that looked like presents and their attire was definitely in the holiday spirit as well. Keyboardist, trumpet player, tambourine hitter, etc., Alex Tighe had a few tough moments throughout, as his computer kept falling off the keyboard. Thankfully though that didn’t faze him, and he performed just as splendidly as before. This, being my fourth time seeing them, seemed a little bit more forced than past shows. However they still were able to maintain their flair for good technique. A few songs before the finish, the audience became targets for candy flinging practice. Seemed like a bit of a painful price to pay for lollipops. They ended the show with “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree”. The latter was sung by Emma from Black Carl. Though she didn’t know the lyrics, that didn’t stop her from singing what she felt would work.

Show Review for Now, Now and Jukebox The Ghost at the Marquee Theatre on 10/27/12

By: Paula Tesoriero

It’s a Saturday night at the Marquee Theater. Energy threatens to explode the venue walls. Taking Back Sunday is finally making there return to the valley this evening. Wearing their TBS shirts, the majority of the crowd that are here at this early of a time simply want a close up view of the famed band’s performance. I, however, am here for other reasons. Jukebox The Ghost is making their second debut in Arizona and I couldn’t be happier.  

The first band that came on stage was called Now, Now. This trio, comprised of two females and one male, were quite impressive. Though their ambient punk sound isn’t exactly my style, I was appreciative of their musical quality. The only problem with the set was the over-riding sound of the bass drum. At times it overpowered the rest of the music. Also, the lead singer had quite good voice, though the lyrics were a bit difficult to make out. In the end, the set from Now, Now (Meow, Meow also seems to be accepted from the group) was very enjoyable.

Now Jukebox The Ghost takes hold of our attention. I must admit that looking around and seeing people dance to their music warmed my heart a bit. Compared to the rest of the evening’s lineup, they seemed a bit out of place. This, however, was not a problem for them. After setting up onstage the lights went off and lead singer/brilliant keyboardist Ben Thornewill asked the crowd to act surprised to see them when the lights went back on. We did a fairly good job of it too. Right off the bat JTG had the audience in their grasp. They gained our attention by bringing the stage to life. Their energy was nearly unmatched by those in the audience. During their hit song “Hold It In” Thornewill used a small pointing gesture as he hit notes you wouldn’t think men could sing. Select observers began to mimic these movements in good nature. Throughout their set, their unfortunately brief set, drummer Jesse Kristin displayed superb hand-eye coordination as he twirled drumsticks and tambourines into the air (and subsequently caught them). Their sound was spot on and they brought with them a lightheartedness that would later be diminished by more hardcore bands. I expect after a performance like that, Jukebox The Ghost will have a much greater fan following here in the valley now.

Show Review for Bogan Via, Factories, and White Arrows at the Rhythm Room on 9/18/12

By: Paula Tesoriero 

The evening opened with DJ Hartbreaks playing the audience some superbly mixed tunes. He performed between each band’s set and supplied continuous great music to those at the Rhythm Room. Though at times I got caught up in friendly conversation, DJ Hartbreaks always brought me back to his attention with the unique mixing of a song. Local duo Bogan Via composed of Madeleine Miller and Bret Bender began to play around eight. After spotting their EP power flower tin, I knew I would like them. This was my second time seeing them perform, but this time was quite a bit more intimate, which helped me focus on their truly unique sound. They seem like they could be right out of the hippie music movement, what with their languid attitudes and compositional talent. The sound seemed simplistic enough, but as I began to focus on their chord progressions I realized these two are able to create complex melodies while still keeping it light. Though there wasn’t much feedback from the crowd, I did hear a few comments about how good they sounded together. Their voices apart were enjoyable, but when singing simultaneously it sounded like the perfect fit. During the last song, though there was a bit of a keyboard stand problem, the two were able to continue on in a most professional manner. I was exceedingly impressed. Bogan Via

Bogan Via

Next up, Factories. I’d heard a lot about this group and was intrigued to view their performance technique. Needless to say, it was quite an entertaining set. This group seemed to make it a point to toss their inhibitions far away. All three on stage danced and stomped along to the rhythm, each having their own unique style. Hair flipping keyboardist and vocalist Audra Marscovetra added a very metal-esque feeling to the music. The combination of the gravelly bass sounds coming from the keyboard in the first few songs and her melodic screams made me a little unsure as to what they were trying to get across in their music. As the bass lowered and more vocals could be heard from Bryan Marscovetra, I began to get a better sense of direction. This group performed well enough, not exactly my style of music but still a very fun performance.

Factories

Factories

Jacques Cousteau once said, “When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.” Thankfully every member in White Arrows realized this and agreed to band together to let the world know their lives, in this case through music. I cannot vouch for the validity of this entirely, but I know that as far as lead singer Mickey Church is concerned, I know there is some truth to it. Born virtually blind, Church has been quoted as seeing things as an “impressionistic smear”. Though his eyesight has been regained, I wondered if the use of the fog machine during their set has anything to do with letting the audience see through his younger eyes, for that’s exactly how I would describe what I saw of their stage presence. Bright and flashing colored lights mixed in with the artificial fog, making it so I was almost in a dreamlike state of mind. I danced along to the beloved tunes while taking in that kaleidoscope of color and movement from the stage. Mickey’s brother and White Arrows drummer Henry delivered incredibly sharp and profound drumming throughout. I was impressed not only by his skill but also by his ability to know exactly when to play. Many drummers I’ve seen live tend to show fondness towards beating their frustrations or what have you out in a most passionate way. This drummer, however, knew when to hold back just enough to keep the music intense yet not overwhelming. Vocals from the band were intriguing, as I sometimes fear for the performance of those higher pitches. Yet as they all were executed with tact, I couldn’t help but smile. They covered Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” with vigor and excellence. As always, their set flew by right before my eyes. Soon enough they thanked us for coming and hopped off the stage. Fans longing for more rattled off some classic “encore” yelps, but sadly, it was finished.

White Arrows

White Arrows

White Arrows

Items of interest:

I saw- Hawaiian shirts.

I heard- Killer White Winter Hymnal mix brought to the crowd by DJ Hartbreaks.

I did- Dance.

Show Review for All My Friends, Yellow Minute, and Ladylike at Crescent Ballroom on 09/07/12

By: Paula Tesoriero

You might know of Crescent Ballroom as a bar, a venue, a restaurant, or perhaps a most excellent place to be at any given moment. However, on Friday night it was transformed into a time machine of sorts. The bands this metamorphosis is credited to are All My Friends, Yellow Minute, and Ladylike. This local band showcase proved to be a most first-rate time for all who went. Besides being an exceptional concert, it showed that Arizona has massive talent and superb people willing to enjoy good music.

All My Friends opened the night with vigor and a few technical difficulties. Thankfully they were sorted out in no time and there was very little effect from this on the band. In fact, it seemed to increase their energy levels. Keyboardist/tambourine extraordinaire Michael Boyle was one of the highlights of their performance. Starting the moment he took off his shirt and continuing when he would go up with a huge grin on his face after a song well played only to say a smooth “yeah”. That simple thought had a strangely great impact. This is not to demean the other members in any way. Lead singer Colson Miller impressed me as well. I’m not usually a fan of the screamo tinge, but he used it to his advantage, and in the end it gave the songs a pure rock feel that evoked a certain sense of nostalgia. Their set and the element of the clean guitar riffs placed me at a rock show in the late 1970s.

All My Friends

All My Friends

The next band up, Yellow Minute, brought me back to present times. Lead singer Sean Brennan hopped onto the stage carrying a big black bag. He emptied its contents out and soon balloons drifted around the audience, making buoyant appearances throughout the performance. Their moveable experimental pop provided the audience with the chance to show off their dance skills. After a few songs, Sean brought out yet another black bag, this time tossing beach balls into the crowd explaining that the next piece had a very fun-ocean-times vibe to it. These, though fun while they lasted (unless you were hit unexpectedly with one in the face) were not as long lived as the balloons, which were still going rather strong. Yellow Minute displayed a very composed yet lively performance technique. Their sound was vibrant and easy to listen to. Sean later introduced the audience to a little piñata man, who just so happened to look like one of the Bee Gees. This guy was passed around during a slow song, inspiring us all to let loose and have fun. In the end, Yellow Minute impressed and provided excellent audience participation factors which I greatly admire.

Yellow Minute

Yellow Minute 

Two large “L”s are placed strategically apart from each other on stage. A voice resonates throughout every space of the venue. Light then focuses on he who croons to us all. As the song continues, the stage becomes brighter and we are presented with the whole of Ladylike. I’ve often described Ladylike’s sound as being “a little Queen, dash of ELO, tinge of Springsteen, and an indescribable quality of their own”. I must admit, seeing them perform live only added on to that purely Ladylike sound. During their song “The Auctioneer”, they brought up Danny Torgersen from Captain Squeegee to add a few trumpet flourishes to the piece. This with the addition of the lighting and double “L”s placed me in another era. I felt like I was approaching a carnival of sorts in the late 1940s. It’s an exceedingly wonderful experience when a mere performance of one song can carry such authenticity within it. This credit goes to the band as a whole. If one doesn’t comply with the mood others are creating, it doesn’t work. Thankfully however, the gentleman in Ladylike proved their passion throughout the set. At the end of the show, lead singer Rob Kroehler presented us with a choice: whether or not to cut the contrived suspense and just perform their encore song then and there or go off stage and come back in a few. The crowd’s uniform answer was for them to continue without leaving. Bassist Austin Owen suggested the lights go off completely so that it would seem they left, yet would suddenly appear when the lights went back on. The crowd humored Ladylike by chanting the familiar “One more song!” in the darkness. Ladylike’s last song, though a bit slower tempo, kept the audience engaged even after it was all over. My friends and I continued to dance and sway a bit, almost believing the band would return to the stage.

Ladylike

Ladylike

Ladylike 

Ladylike gave props to Crescent Ballroom so I will too. This venue has done wonders for Arizona’s music scene, and to hear the band’s appreciation for it was inspiring. In the end, this show was as exhausting as it was entertaining. The connection between the artists and the audience made it seem that we were so much more than surveyors of a show; we were a vital part of it.

Show Review for Sun Ghost, Races, and SAINT MOTEL at the Rhythm Room on 8/07/12

By: Paula Tesoriero 

Last night I went to see Saint Motel with openers Races and Sun Ghost. Needless to say, my expectations for Tuesday evening shows are now much greater.

Local trio Sun Ghost provided the perfect opening to the evening. Their fun and mildly old-timey sound had the crowd, though seated, swaying to their music. Lead singer and keyboardist Trevor Denton karate kicked his way through the set, only enhancing their playful-rock sound. Denton’s technical keyboard skills made not having a guitarist bearable, which is definitely not the easiest thing to do.

 Sun Ghost

After an energetic performance from Sun Ghost, Races took the stage and shifted the crowd into a more relaxed mood. This six member stage presence had me a bit worried for a minute, considering there was so much equipment that could be tripped over or trampled upon. After a surprisingly quick set up, they paid close attention to ensuring their instruments were in tune, a commendable quality. It was refreshing to hear them ask for changes in mic volumes even throughout the show. It seemed that they were comfortable with the venue and performing in front of us. Lead vocals from Wade Ryff flowed easily into the ears and souls of all present. In the end, Races left me grinning to myself over their slightly melancholic tinged performance.

 Wade Ryff from Races

Saint Motel. I need to start off by saying that their music videos should all be watched and admired by those reading this. They have a knack for pulling at the nostalgic feelings in all who listen to and look upon their videos. The stage filled with fog as they reassured us it came from no machine, forcing us to enter into a 1997 frame of mind. After the first few songs they turned on a colorful strobe light of sorts, changing hues and giving the fog the perfect backdrop to show its true marvel on. They covered Brenton Wood’s “Give Me Some Kind of Sign” with excellence. AJ Jackson and Aaron Sharp did not disappoint in vocals. They hit each note perfectly, even the ones that I thought would be a bit disastrous. As a whole the band made it difficult for the audience to see them go. During the performance of their single “Puzzle Pieces,” more than half the crowd was up and dancing, some were definitely more outgoing than others. However, during this show it didn’t matter. No judgments took place since the band made it easy for us to forget our troubles and anxieties and become enwrapped in their catchy melodies and danceable beats.

 Saint Motel

When the show did end, I know I was left wanting more. A friend and I chatted with the members from Saint Motel for a bit and I told one of them I would do my best to portray them as being cool. If you did not catch on before, Saint Motel is a very keen band, and its members are equally rad. They are not to be missed.

The Set Up

Concert review for Yellow Ostrich and Of Monsters and Men at the Marquee Theatre

By: Paula Tesoriero

Concert date: 05/30/12 

There’s a lot to be said about a band that strolls in from the streets of Tempe past a vast line of fans a mere hour before their show starts. But I’ll save that for later. Last night’s show at the Marquee Theater contained a crowd composed of a good mix of young and old; I even spotted a young girl of about 8. The opening band, Yellow Ostrich, began their set with the song WHALE, introducing the audience to the complex looping used in most of their music. During their first few songs, the members of this group seemed to be holding back a bit. There was a great amount of tense energy that kept the audience craving more. However, as the show progressed they began loosening up more and that pent up aggression-type passion began releasing. They ended their set by performing the liveliest rendition of The Shakedown. At the end of it, lead singer and guitarist Alex Schaaf played his guitar in desperation to release as much sound and energy as possible. Their set was only enhanced by the addition of brass and Alex’s quirky comments to the audience. I later asked Alex to supply this review with a statement of whatever might come to mind right away. His reply? “Sweaty beauty.”

After a surprisingly short wait, the lead act Of Monsters and Men graced the stage with waves and smiles. They began with a spirited performance of Dirty Paws, reeling the audience in with their talent and wonderfully unfamiliar accents. This Icelandic band brought as much as they could to the stage, even in the intense heat so unlike their native home. A few of the members took off their shoes at the beginning, providing a very comfortable vibe to those of us appreciating such a gesture. The two lead singers, Nanna Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar þórhallsson, armed with their acoustic guitars and compatible voices held nothing back during their show. I believe their drummer gave their set its great intensity. This man enticed the audience to clap and sing along, and from start to finish he did nothing but give himself to bringing his drums and the audience to life in the most passionate way. The band performed a unique and worthy cover of Close To Me by The Cure. Another interesting factor brought to the stage was the use of an accordion, and the fact that it changed hands about 3 times throughout. The audience danced and sang along to Little Talks, the last song before they left. The crowd, however, was not ready for them to depart so soon. After about 5 minutes of cacophony, the band reappeared. Their encore set included a new song, and they ended the entire show with a song titled Yellow Light, which also happens to be their last song on the album. They told the audience that it was a slower song but that did not stop us all from clapping when possible and shouting our love during it. Of Monsters and Men left the stage for the last time, but also left some of themselves in our heads, as we left the venue humming select songs from the evening.

I obtained a brief interview with Nanna after the show. I asked how they enjoyed playing in Arizona and she said that because it hadn’t sold out, they were all a little bit unsure of how it would turn out, but in the end the crowd was very welcoming and they had a great time. I asked if they would consider coming back and she said of course. In the end the concert was one about which those who attended should jot down a few notes. It isn’t often a show of its class takes place in a venue as small as the Marquee.

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Photos by Joshua Tesoriero

White Denim Bursting at their Extremely Soulful Seams

By Gabrielle Marshall

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Jam sessions are severely under appreciated. When given the opportunity to sit around with musically adept friends, and nerd out on syncopated rhythms or thumping bass lines, musically induced bliss results. What happens when this atmosphere surfaces at a live show? Musically charged euphoria for all those present. White Denim performed this week at Crescent Ballroom for a Valentine’s Day showcase to a crowd eager for every note they had to offer. Opening was Phoenix/Los Angeles hybrids K N E S S E T, part shoegaze mixed with upbeat pop undertones describes their overall effect. With a full and enriched sound, the ensemble managed to fill both the stage area (and the patio) with a giant sea of harmony.  As I sat eating my delicious burro, my ears were greatly satisfied with the music that surrounded me. Performing a generous amount tracks off of their first full length “Coming of Age” release, the notes and disposition were all effectively poignant. These guys were extremely good at setting the tone for the musical experience yet to come.

White Denim’s interesting variety of blues/ rock/ pop intersects in all the right ways. Their CD’s are filled with unexpected twists and dripping with that earnest prog-rock sensibility. Primarily promoting “D” their latest full length release, the boys were in fine form for their Centennial day performance.  Though the crowd itself was not as densely packed as the last show I attended there, the quality of people present was sky high. Only genuine fans seemed to make this event a Valentine’s Day priority, but that made it all the easier to sequester near the stage. Perfect view in my sights, the bands opening number solidified everyone’s thoughts this was the place to be this centennial.  With their pounding rhythms and r&b infused heavy instrumentation, the crowd was in a swaying-hipster dancing frenzy at the fantastic performance. Guitar solos galore, along with the best drummer  I have seen in years, and the swelling soulful vocals of lead James Petralli made for an intoxicating blend of southern soul that can be hard to generate. Each member of the quartet had ridiculous musicianship that made you want to bask in the fact that such a well-balanced ensemble exists. They killed it again and again. The small crowd ate every bit of it up, and naturally cheered enthusiastically for the encore. Then my mind exploded. Encore shenanigans that included Petralli doing laps around the Crescent and then wailing passionately on one of my favorite White denim concoctions sealed the deal. This was one of my favorite shows of the past year. His energy was so infectious that I almost followed his lead and ran laps behind him. But I feared that would be overstepping boundaries.

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White Denim is currently on tour. For a list of dates check out their website.