Aydin Immortal is rock 'n' roll, and Wolvves is more fun than any other band in Phoenix. Those are the two most important lessons the 25 to 40 people who showed up to Funny World on First Friday learned when they saw the Phoenix-based skate-punks headline a local house show, along with Help Me Sleep from Tucson and locals TK and The Irresistibles and Andy Warpigs.
Funny World has been hosting shows for years, and having the bands set up in the living room the way they do is like something straight out of a movie high school party. The venue really represents everything a local show should be about -- good times, BYOB, and all-donation covers, though local drunk punk Gonzo Dankster pointed out that not enough people were willing to join the mosh.
Andy Warpigs opened the show, and the always-eccentric country punk played all the hits, from his cover of the Ramones' "The KKK Took My Baby Away" to his erratic originals, with a backing band of whoever standing around happened to be willing to bang on a drum.
Warpigs has made his way around all of the DIY venues in the Valley, and makes fairly regular appearances at Lawn Gnome Publishing in downtown Phoenix on their Live Music Tuesdays. Though the ukulele-toting cowboy will probably never pack a stadium, he plays songs that are fun to sing along to and easy to participate with.
After Warpigs, T.K. and The Irresistibles got going in the living room, and in what may have been a contest of who can be more eccentric with Warpigs, front man T.K. Campo played the set shirtless and in some rather revealing basketball shorts.
T.K. and The Irresistibles have often been compared to Justin Champlin's project Nobunny, and on the night of December 6 they definitely lived up to that comparison. With self-proclaimed Rock Band-trained drummer Max Martinez backing him up in his penguin suit, the shirtless Campo definitely put on the energetic show he's become known for.
Following Campo, Tucson based emo-punks Help Me Sleep loaded in and sounded exactly how an emo band that has only been together for three shows should -- on the bad side of mediocre.
It seemed like most of the crowd took an elongated cigarette break during Help Me Sleep's set, and country singer Stewart Stephens, who was in attendance, summed up the crowd's reaction pretty well in his Texas drawl, "I don't want to come out and get drunk and listen to some guy bitch about his girlfriend," he said.
But making it through their set was absolutely worth it once Wolvves' frontman Aydin Immortal took the mic. While Wolvves set up, drummer Max Wolf--same dummer as TK, same penguin costume, but different persona--bragged to the audience about learning to drum from Rock Band and said "I hope that offends somebody," before being one upped by an audience member who claimed to have learned the art of percussion from Donkey Kong Jungle Beat.
The audience reacted with a hearty laugh to the one-upmanship when Wolvves lead guitarist and newest member Isaac Wolf (Parker) finally showed up, set his gear up, and gave the rest of the band and the audience the Wolvves symbol of being ready to play: lifting the hand in the shape of an "L" to the forehead.
At this point Aydin forced all the audience members in the kitchen area into the living room and poked his head outside to instruct the smokers to make their way inside as well. Immortal had been drinking heavily before the show, and for many bands that can spell doom for a set. But for Wolvves it just meant the already-uninhibited Immortal was going crazier than usual, jumping into the crowd to mosh during songs and barking out orders at his adoring public.
During the Wolvves set Dankster once again tried to get the mosh pit started, but to no avail, finding himself bumping into the same one or two people over and over again. But who could blame him? Wolvves' music is just so easy to move too.
While Aydin was engaging the crowd and doing his thing as one of Phoenix's clear standout front men, Isaac was adding his own flair to the music with his guitar riffs. Though Wolvves is clearly driven by their stellar lead singer, Isaac has definitely put his stamp on the music by adding a layer of heaviness that was not present before his arrival in the band.
Though the mosh never got going for Dankster, Wolvves still got the whole room moving and had Bacchus frontman and labelmate Austin Rickert singing along to almost every song. By the end of the set Immortal was too inebriated to hold the mic; Campo held it in front of his face while he belted out their closing song, "Locals Only," which Rickert also jumped in on.
Wolvves is definitely a band to look out for in the New Year as they prepare to record more music--with a more refined sound, according to Immortal. To get the proper Wolvves experience, make sure to catch them at a house show. Because for now there isn't a better DIY band in the Valley than this four-piece.