The Father Figures @ Crescent Ballroom|1/25/13
Not that I had any doubts, but I'm starting to think that there's really no such thing as a bad Father Figures show. This hybrid punk/post punk trio has decades of experience in various musical endeavors and it shows. The attention to detail pays off; The Father Figures' performance at last night's All About Everything album release party was airtight and really brought the album to life.
-The Father Figures Dish on Phoenix's Punk Rock Glory Days -The Father Figures Play Punk With No Rules -Gregg Turkington on Punk in Tempe, the '80s, and a Band As Good as Black Flag -JFA Celebrates 30 Years of Skate Punk -More Oral History of Phoenix Skate Punk -Download: The Father Figures Cover The Feederz Classic "Avon Lady"
When I met up with the band to discuss All About Everything, drummer Bobby Lerma mentioned The Cure's "10:15 Saturday Night" as a prime example of a song that builds and releases tension, which was the band's intention with its stellar sophomore album. These nuances were clearer than ever as the band opened with the dense '60s spy music-meets post punk screed "Transparent," a telling song focused on inevitable fallings out with friends after calling them on their bullshit.
The tension continued to build with "How to Succeed," which Lerma described as a "working man's angst" song. The feelings of monotony and dissatisfaction with one's job melted away with the choppy, yet upbeat "Switch." Lerma affectionately referred to this song "an old man's love letter to skateboarding." The AZPX crew was in full attendance as well as guys in skate shirts, so reminiscing about dropping in a bowl evoked feelings of warmth and nostalgia.
As promised, the band played every track from All About Everything along with a few songs from debut album Lesson Number One. The songs were out of order, building a new sense of anticipation and a metaphorical build and release of tension. This was most evident with the fans, which began dance and mosh during "Fe Fi Fo" and "The Over/Under" as bassist Tom Reardon snickered about the audience finally deciding to mosh during the last 30 seconds of their set.
"Some 40-somethings are circle dancing to our set, I think Crescent frowns on that," said Lerma.
The tension nearly boiled over as Reardon listed some of history's most infamous killers during "Crosstown," which paired well with the urgency of the song. This was echoed a few songs later through the pulsing military commentary of "Tin Soldiers," escalating even more through the shady political dealings of "Hollow."
"And national health care will bankrupt the state," Reardon emoted, foreshadowing his attempt to divide the crowd by those who are angry because of the economy, poor, education, or because "your cat pissed on something you really liked," prompting the audience to get pretty wild during closing song "The Over/Under." The Father Figures did not return for an encore, but it didn't seem necessary after such a masterfully crafted set.
If most of this year's releases are half as good as All About Everything, 2013 is going to be a fantastic year for music.
Check out the setlist and critic's notebook on page two.
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Critic's Notebook: Last Night: The Father Figures All About Everything CD release party at Crescent Ballroom. Personal Bias: My love for skateboarding and old punk drew me to The Father Figures right away. Plus, I really like this album. The Crowd: Friends and family of the band all having a great time. Overheard in the Crowd: The wives were referred to as "The Misses Figures." Random Notebook Dump: There were quite a few folks sporting Father Figures shirts. For once, it was a sincere and cool move.