Andrew Jackson Jihad Crescent Ballroom Saturday, December 17, 2011
Some guy spat on my face, I have random bruises all over my legs, and even though I only drank water, I reek of beer. The crowd booed and yelled "fuck you" to Andrew Jackson Jihad...looks like Andrew Jerkson Jerkwad needs to go back to Chicago and stay there for good.
This Phoenix folk/punk duo hasn't been playing many local shows because singer/guitarist Sean Bonnette currently lives in Chicago. While introducing "Hate, Rain on me," he announced that he plans on moving back in June, so it looks like we can still consider Andrew Jackson Jihad a local band.
The mixed crowd of first timers and drunkards singing along crowd surfed and moshed, making it the first time I had seen either of these things happen at The Crescent. In spite of getting drenched with saliva and beer, it was a welcome sight.
Singer/guitarist Sean Bonnette and bassist Ben Gallaty announced that they needed about ten minutes to set up, but in reality, only needed about 10 seconds for Gallaty to plug in his upright bass. The duo immediately launched into "Brave as a Noun" and "Survival Song" back to back, followed up with lots of crowd favorites.
The band used its minimal breaks for humor, suggesting that Steve Nash was in the crowd (he wasn't), and teasing Gallaty for playing with his phone. He was keeping track of time, but it was more entertaining to buy in to Bonnette calling it a drug deal. "Sense and Sensibility" included a chorus from Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way," and Bonnette said, "I know we did this last time, but it's still funny," and it was.
AJJ's set was a good balance of singalongs, hilarity, and some electric songs. The duo invited their "celebrity guests," Deacon Blue Bachelor and a couple members of ROAR to play some songs from Can't Maintain and Knife Man.
The highlight of the night was AJJ's first electric song, "Heartilation." The audience went absolutely insane and showed the duo what they had been missing all this time.
Bonnette waxed nostalgic with "Hate, Rain on me," since he only sees the sun for about 15 minutes a day in Chicago, but admitted that it makes Arizona summers a pain. After closing with a five-piece version of "Big Bird" the core members of AJJ stuck around to chat with fans.
Sweetbleeders played a variety of music, including upbeat circus-y tunes, melodic slow songs, and organ-driven jams that sounded a little bit like The Hold Steady's early material. The crowd danced and did cool stuff like this:
Ben Gallaty sang and played guitar for Empire of the Bear's energetic punk set, which was really, really excellent. I tried to find more info, but could only come up with this outdated myspace page.
Gallaty made yet another appearance on stage with Roar, after staring in the band's adorable "I Can't Handle Change" music video. Owen Evans traded in his cat mask for a goat mask, and performed on a candlelit stage adorned with branches, red light, and horror music.
Last Night: Andrew Jackson Jihad at Crescent Ballroom.
Personal Bias: I've been going to AJJ shows since high school.
The Crowd: Punks and drunks.
Overheard in the Crowd: "You guys are so gay. Not in a good way, but in a bad way. If you're fucking someone's ass, come on," some guy, apparently named Sammie that yelled things like this all night.
One More Thing: I'm pretty sure this is my last review of the year, and I'm happy to say it was a fun show.
Listen for the "Arizona Uber Alles" verse.
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Incomplete Andrew Jackson Jihad Setlist: Brave as a Noun Survival Song Bad Bad Things People II: The Reckoning Rejoice Sense and Sensibility Mental Health Waltz Wild Birds Heartilation The Gift of the Magi 2: Return of the Magi Hate, Rain on me American Tune White Face Big Bird Sweetbleeders Setlist: We Were Never Here Bicycle Sexual Waiting to Explode Mouthful of Squirt St. Augustine Backin Time Someway Some Curiosity No Pain Collarbone
Empire of the Bear Setlist: Tubular Bells Maria Hurdles For You Shindiggler Sleep Tommy Gun ABQ