A rock show in a church? I have to admit their was some creepiness in the air. Sitting in a pew waiting for bands to melt some faces is an odd experience.
First of all....the reason for the festivities...
The Garfield Organization, a non-profit 501(c)(3), was formed in April 1989 by concerned residents who worked tirelessly to revitalize the area and restore a sense of community pride to Garfield. Through community policing partnerships with the City of Phoenix and Maricopa County, and alliances with the local non-profit sectory our community has become a national success story. Over the last 18 years, we have fought against blight and crime to bring new life and hope to our downtown neighborhood, without succumbing to gentrification. We face new challenges and opportunities as ASU moves 15,000 students to their downtown campus, and look forward to engaging with a reinvigorated urban core. For more information about Garfield and pportunities for connecting with residents, getting involved in community events, or finding places to relax or play.
First up to the altar was Universal Spunk. A trio of youngsters blending indie vibes with jazz licks. It reminded me a lot of Zappa's HOT RATS. The bass lines and drum beats were the focal point of my enjoyment. What bothered me was the formula of quiet-dramatic pause-loud-dramatic pause-quiet-scream. The lyrics were sparse which was fine because the instrumentals held their own. I just wish someone would explain to the singer that screaming is not the only form of vocally expressing intensity. It could use some work but I am interested to see a future set as these guys mature. C- (for now)
Next Snow Songs took the stage/altar. Snow Songs is an appropriate name for the band. The trio (apparently the drummer could not make it) was comprised of vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and bass. The sounds blended a warm, cozy feeling that reminded me of being next to a fire in the winter. A delightful vocal that blended a Hope Sandoval/Bjork tone captivated me. I thought they performed well and I hope to catch their electric set soon. B+
The Worrymen infused the night with boredom. Country tinged songs failing to recreate the Roger Clyne sound. Things did more interesting when guitarist Jay Bennett took over lead vocals. The songs took on a more definite country sound (shudder) but also took on meaning lyrically. It's almost if they decided that Jay sings the songs of interest and Kris sings the fluff. Well, Kris regained the vocal lead and sang another banal song and ended with a lyrically cringe worthy tune of flags and pride. I am also prety much convinced that the same bass line is used for all the songs save for one which was interesting but too loud. Meh. D+
In the whole night only one band took the opportunity to exploit the fact that they were playing on a church altar. The Green Lady Killers performed a wonderful set in full overdrive. Hard, fast and with intensity. I hope the other bands took notes. A
Finally, Kirkwood Delinger. A mix of electronics, guitars, bad vocals, and awkward banter. If only they would put as much effort into the samples they played inbetween their songs as they did into the actual songs, then I might not have felt the need to exit a quarter way into their set. It was bad. Owl City bad. F