When Beef Vegan and the other cats from KWSS' The Morning Infidelity take over The Sail Inn for their annaul Phochella fest in mid-April, it will be something of a bittersweet celebration. Besides commemorating the sixth year of Vegan hosting the popular morning radio show and toasting KWSS' fervent fanbase, the event will also fete the venerated Tempe venue, which recently announced its impending closure this summer.
"The Sail Inn has been so good to us over the years, it's definitely a celebration of our relationship with them," Vegan says. "It's going to be sad to see it go and see a staple of Tempe disappear, but [Phochella] is still a celebration of the year we've had and our growth and the friends we've made along the way."
It's also a big celebration of the local music scene, as illustrated by the lineup for the fest that KWSS just released.
A total of 17 local bands and artists will be featured on three different stages at The Sail Inn during Phochella 2014, which takes place on Saturday, April 19. And according to Vegan, the host of TMI, they're each as important as nationally known alt-rock band Crash Kings, which is also scheduled to appear.
"Our initiative [with Phochella] is to brand local bands to be as big as the national bands that we book beside them. So its not just one headliner," he says. "Like our national band Crash Kings is not the sole headliner, even though they've got a big name on the bill. The Technicolors, Banana Gun, Factories, Playboy Manbaby, CooBee Coo..they're all headliners in our audience's mind and in my mind as well."
The rest of the lineup includes Japhy's Descent, Ruca, Snake! Snake! Snakes!, The Wiley One, Worst Case Scenario, Midnight Vitals, and Watch for Rocks. Solo artists Taylor Upsahl, Marc Norman,Kevin Redlich, Naomi Newman, and Portland's Poenia Suddarth will also perform.
Vegan says that they "zeroed in" on Crash Kings for the event because of the band's popularity with the KWSS audience.
"They had one of our most popular songs of 2013 ["Hot Fire"]. They also had a huge number one alternative song a few years ago, so we're big fans. But more importantly, they were one of our more requested songs of the entire year last year," Vegan says. "So I wanted to bring in a national act and I feel like Crash Kings embodies the same kind of idea that independent radio like KWSS does, with us still being this underdog station. Not that they're an underground/indie/buzz band, they're a phenomenal band that's getting overlooked right now and we wanted to have them be a part of our showcase, because they're that good."
Vegan says that Phochella, which was first held in 2011, is bigger in scope than any of the other local music nights that KWSS and it's morning show promotes around the Valley. And it boasts a bigger crowd that he expects will be even larger this year since it will be all-ages for the first time ever.
"We're hoping that we can pack in 1,000 people on the property. And there's a lot of younger people who have been listening to the show and connecting with it. And there's a lot of moms and dads with teenagers that listen to [TMI] together, which is a trip, so we wanted to put together a musical showcase and party that they can all enjoy as well."
Phochella 2014 will take place on Friday, April 19, at The Sail Inn. Tickets are $15.
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