Psst…. come here. Do you feel it? That electricity? That pulse? That vibe. If you have gotten out, at all, to any local establishments, festivals, or shows then you know what I am talking about.
Something is happening in Phoenix, Arizona.
My friend, and lead man of The Real Fakes, Kevin Michael Prier, and I just talked about it. We are all talking about it. The quality of music right now in the Valley of the Sun is off the charts. Name your genre. We have it. And we have a lot of GREAT of it. But this article is about one thing. VIBE. It is that word that has a very nebulous definition, but you know it when you feel it.
And if you missed the extravaganza at Valley Bar in downtown Phoenix that was The Runner Up EP Release Party, then let me tell you Phoenix…. that Vibe was on display that night. Everything we love about live music: a great crowd, friendly people, no fights, wonderful musicianship, talent and skill, and just raw, transferable, contagious ENERGY was on display that night. And that one show screamed out to this writer…. This, this right here, right now, is WHY you do this!
Paper Foxes opened the night, and, because the Phoenix music scene is HOT AF…. I was at the Marquee seeing the debut of my beloved Wyves at that venue warming up the crowd for Wade Cota. Wyves played a great set, and did everything we know that band is capable of in warming up a Phoenix crowd, but.. I missed most of Paper Foxes. (That’s okay though… because guess who has you covered for the bands epic Vinyl Release Show!!!!) That said, I know they opened with Dance of the Dead and Devil on My Shoulder back to back and closed out with Pop Confessions. My God this band is good!!!! Get your damn tickets to their show!!!!!
I had never previously seen The Hourglass Cats. I have seen Killa Mouse with Scattered Melodies, and I love them; I have listened to his single tracks, I dig em. But this guy… is unreal on the keys. What a show this band brings!!!! Paper Foxes got everybody ready to dance, and these guys said… yeah, dial that shit to eleven! At one point I got a fistful of CDs from Cori Rios and I passed them through the crowd, and although I am nothing of the showman that Jesse Morrison is, they even had me up and bouncin! Wow! Cats, I know I am late to the party… but as aforementioned… the Phoenix talent is DEEP. Consider me on board!
Then… we get to The Runner Up.
Friends, if you are performing live art, and you want to be at the top of your game, you absolutely must see The Runner Up Live ! Rusty is one of the most charismatic and charming front men in town, and his stage presence is FIRE… literally and figuratively. Like a dancing leprachaun gone pop/ rock/ disco Rusty comes on like the energizer bunny and he does ….. not….. stop. He channels energy to the crowd in a way that you would expect from a Major front man, it is contagious. And it is just about damn near impossible to not get into the party when you have Rusty Bringing It !
Another thing I really love about The Runner Up… is they bridge a gap in the current Phoenix scene. They are pop. Yes. They are rock. Yes. They can jam it up with a retro dark disco band like Paper Foxes, and absolutely have the energy to follow The Hourglass Cats. Folks…. that is saying something.
As far as the EP. Buy it. Buy it right now. Represented by 80/20 Records, in my opinion this is the best, hit song after hit song of original music EP that the label has released to date. It is six songs of pure bliss. The Ep showcases their raw energy, their amazing musical skill, fantastic, tightly written and thoughtful songs, and souring guitar solos. Folks… they are like something new…. but mixes with a bit of The Cars…. and some Billy Idol…. and some Imagine Dragons….. and some awesome sauce I can’t really put my finger on. I Came to Play opens the EP, and like I said, listen to this song, experience them live…. this band is not messing around. And they announce it in a way that will get you dancing right from note one. Melanie starts out very differently from the first song, but the musical talent in this track is fantastic. I lose myself in the guitar riffs this band has captured. Somebody is hands down, lights out, a great pop rock tune that needs to be on the radio. LISTEN TO IT RIGHT NOW.
Over it and Because you Lie are just great songs. And Pillz, is by far a local favorite. It is poppy. It is fun. It is bittersweet.
This is an EP you can just listen to on repeat for hours. I have. It was wonderful.
But the takeaway, besides releasing a great record, is the VIBE. Folks, make your shows electric. Make the night an experience. Tonight, I will be watching some of my all time favorites get inducted into the Arizona Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Let me tell you my friends, my life…. has been defined by musical memories. Think of the power you have. Think of the responsibility.