Tempe Music Festival was supposed to be this weekend at Tempe Beach Park. That plan was scrapped back in February when organizers decided they needed to take a year off before mustering the resources to host another two-day event.
What do we get instead? The finals of the festival's Garage Band Competition at Cooperstown.
The bands playing are...
Well... They're, umm, definitely ready for a show in someone's garage.
Not my garage -- my standards are pretty high for that sort of thing -- but maybe a less prominent garage on the outskirts of town.
Before I continue let me remind you of this: Two years ago, Tempe Music Festival had Fergie and My Chemical Romance. Just two years ago...
So who's playing this weekend's event? Kings & Priests, Boys and Frogs, Buskin Cuffs, Speed Limit, The Vera Groove [sic], and Brazen Stir.
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Unless you're a member of one of these bands or related to a member of one of these bands, there is a very, very slim chance you've heard of any of them. So let's break it down...
- Kings & Priests is a Christian alt-rock band from Mesa who, I would guess, produced their demo tracks on a hand-held microcassette recorder.
- Boys and Frogs is a Peoria indie band that's probably the best out of the bunch. They opened for Courtney Marie Andrews last weekend at Lost Leaf.
- Buskin Cuffs is a local band with a great emo singer in Skyler Lee Hale and that brown-noses by listing a bunch of local bands as "influences." They're also fairly legit, even if most of their shows seem to be at some sort of battle of the bands.
- Speed Limit appears to be between the ages of 12 and 17. They're cute kids. I especially like the very earnest "former members" section of their biography, where they explain why two previous singers left: "Melissa Greenberg - Vocals. Joined the band in October of 2009. Unfortunately, diverging artistic directions and professional interests, however, prevented this union from solidifying." We're left to wonder what pressing "professional interests" a high school kid has. "J.B. Stockslager - lead singer. Founding band member. Unfortunately, J.B left in order to put his focus on sports." Let's all hope he makes the JV soccer team!
Brazen Stir is from Tucson and really seems to be more like some dude strumming a guitar outside a coffee house than an actual band. Hopefully they don't have to go on after Speed Limit.
The Vera Groove is actually The Veragroove. No biggie. They look (and sound) like 311 roadies. That said, they have to be the runaway favorites to win something like this.
This is absolutely brutal. I sincerely hope Tempe Music Festival comes back next year... and that it's nothing at all like this weekend's event.