Neighbors to SXSR Festival: Turn It Down!

Paper Foxes, just before the cops shut the party down.
Paper Foxes, just before the cops shut the party down.
Serene Dominic

Friday night's South by South Roosevelt festival in the older neighborhood (older as in less gentrified) went off without a hitch but Saturday night was apparently alright for fighting, as one perturbed neighbor, intent on playing Mr. Wilson to SXSR's Dennis the Menace, started complaining about the noise to police as early as 3:30 p.m. at an hour where there are probably leaf blowers carrying a higher decibel count than some of the bands playing there at South Roosevelt and Third Street in Tempe. And for Chrissakes, the show was in direct line with a Sky Harbor flight path.

Whoever this person was complaining to the police, he certainly was picking a fight with the mellowest of adversaries. Very little of the music before 7 o'clock when police shut down the festival was music anyone under 68 would find objectionable. This was hippie-hewn bar bands and jam rock, the kind that wouldn't seem out of place at a hemp festival.

Speakeasy took the stage an our later than their scheduled time and displayed nice three-part harmonies and space-rock guitar solos. On the second to last number they did an upbeat thumper that inspired the goofiest hippie mosh pit I'd ever seen. Far from getting hurt, everyone looked like they came down for a game of duck, duck goose.

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And behind the stage was a citrus tree, giving off the sweet fragrance of orange blossoms, the smell that in three weeks will lead to madness for most sinus sufferers. The tree was festooned with Christmas lights and lots of multicolored fans so it looked like something re-imagined from The Reading Rainbow. This was a friendly get-together, like adjoining neighbors throwing a backyard fete, a fated fete, though it soon became.

Carol Pacey and the Honey Shakers upped the hardness factor up a bit thanks to Andy Borunda's fire-branding guitar leads. Still no more complaints were lodged.

Manic Monkeys, who played the festival last year during a torrential downfall that left their foot pedals dangerously close to being submerged in water, performed a song they said was about zombies but then had a line in it that went "It's time to care about one another." Right hospitable rock, we're taking!

As darkness began to fall, Paper Foxes presented possibly the first example of music that at least hinted at the existence of punk rock or at least music made after the release of Europe '72. If this was a backyard party, this group introduced a garage sound to it that clearly sent the neighbor in a Tempe tizzy. They were three songs into their allotted set when Mike from Manic Monkeys was conveying what they were told by the police to do. Although my ears may have failed me here but I don't think so, it was something about taking the PA from an 8 down to a 4. To his credit, Paper Foxes singer Christopher James Jacobson said into the mike, "That's all we've got," plugged their show at Last Exit, which was in two hours, and unplugged his gear.

Just as well, as it started pouring down with rain not long after the shut down. There appeared a post on Facebook an hour later saying the festival had been moved to to 1237 W 10th Pl ace in Tempe but whether that included The Lonesome Wilderness, Luau, Rose Colored Eyes, Ana Log, DeadFoxx, Japhy's Descent and Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold huddled in a kitchen drinking coffee is not known at this time.

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