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Bacchus and the Demonsluts - Lawn Gnome Publishing - 5/25/2014

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Bacchus and the Demonsluts put on one of the best album release parties of 2014 on Sunday for the release of their debut studio recording, The Rumors of Our Demise Have Been Grossly Underestimated.

The band really just did everything right for the show. The party had a stacked lineup with opening acts Leonardo DiCapricorn, Subadoh, Pro Teens, Boss Frog, Hot Rock Supa Joint, Jerusafunk, and Wolvves. The band picked an unusual venue in the backyard of downtown Phoenix's most famous bookstore, Lawn Gnome Publishing, and the group made one-of-a-kind merchandise including handmade pins and T-shirts, and to top it all off, they provided free food for everyone and free beer for folks of age.

Bacchus really did a great job of living up to their name as party gods, ditching the formalities that come along with bigger venues and opting for a release that really felt like a house party -- in a venue that used to be house. It made for an extraordinarily intimate show.

Oh, and besides booking it really well and making it extremely fun and interesting, the band also played one hell of a show. Bacchus' set is short, and the Demonsluts have been playing it out for a while now, but they really have it wrapped up tight. It's just a really energetic and fun 25 minutes of music that is never quite the same twice, due to the Sluts' penchant for improvisation.

Drummer Mike Reese was in noticeably high spirits, ferociously beating his drums while bass player, and the band's flashiest dresser, Jason Ogden, really laid down a tremendous bottom. For a funk band, the bass line is all-important, and Bacchus definitely has a solid person filling that role.

The band's tandem of guitarists, Jamison "Chocolicious" McQueen and Ben "Dr. Funk" Fuqua, existed in a beautiful funkified harmony. The two funky space cadets played off each other well, and looked damn good doing it. Frontman and saxophone player Ricky Smash really rocked it, too, in his third set of the afternoon, following his appearances with Boss Frog and Jerusafunk.

It was a tremendous set for Bacchus, and the band had the 75 to 100 people in attendance getting down and funky with them. Hell, I would suggest that bands consult with Bacchus on their release parties to make sure they are doing it right. They could probably teach a lot of local bands a thing or two about how to release a record in a way that doesn't feel like a contrived, monotonous ritual. But I also think they learned a very valuable lesson at their show: Do not have Wolvves open for you at your album release.

Bacchus hit every note and played one of the most entertaining sets of their career, and all of their sets are extremely entertaining. But following a lead singer as intense as Wolvves' Aydin Immortal is just difficult. Things got so intense on stage during Wolvves that Immortal actually broke a part of the stage during the group's song "Locals Only."

Every band played well, and the crowd stayed fairly consistent from start to finish. Bacchus' Lazy Sunday BBQPalooza and CD Release party was easily one of the best parties going in the Valley this Memorial Day Weekend.

Critics Notebook

Yesterday: Bacchus and The Demonsluts Album Release

The Venue: Lawn Gnome has seriously upgraded its PA since the demise of Live Music Tuesdays, and the addition of a ice cream truck to the landscape is pretty awesome, too.

Overheard in the crowd: "Man, how are we going to follow that?" Aydin Immortal after Jerusafunk's set.

Random Notebook Dump: Valley bands, please take heed of Bacchus and its amazing release show when you are going about planning your own. It doesn't have to be 25 bands on two stages at The Sail Inn nor four bands at Crescent Ballroom. It can be a fun and interesting event of your own design with real character and a draw built on more than the fact that every band in town is playing it. Kudos to Bacchus on a party well done.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

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