Blacklist Royals at The Trunk Space, 6-27-11

Blacklist Royals
The Trunk Space

Monday, June 27

What did you do last night? If you are like most Phoenicians, you did not come out to see the Blacklist Royals rock out at The Trunk Space.

Your loss. Despite the lack of a formidable crowd, the Tennessee four-piece put on an incredibly energetic set for the kids that showed up. The Royals brought their southern brand of folk punk to the sparsely populated venue in downtown Phoenix like they had just sold out the Marquee.

The supporting acts were not half bad either, and definitely complimented the headliner. Following an impromptu acoustic set by New Jersey pop-punk outfit Washington Square Park, Jake Krauss -- bassist for local band Out of Reverie -- showed some impressive folk rock chops as he rattled off a set of whiskey-soaked acoustic ballads in the first solo show of his life.

Krauss even managed to get Royals lead singer Nat Rufus to join him on a cover of alt-country punks Lucero's "Nobody's Darlings."

The following two acts, Said Gun and Moovalya, moved away from the folk but brought a whole lot of rock, shredding fast guitar riffs and shouted vocals

And then came the Blacklist Royals to bring it all home. The headliner took the stage (or floor space in front of the stage) combining the folk, rock, and punk aspects of the previous acts into one explosive, tight, set.

"Let's make this a good night," Rufus told the room. "It's late and Monday is the new Friday, at least in Arizona."

The band wasted no time, opening up with the aptly titled "Rock and Roll." The song immediately prompted a few head bobs and shoulder shakes as the band sang about the glory of rock and roll.

Nearly every song during the band's set held the same amount of energy and passion as the lead-in, making heavy use of pop-punk style breakdowns and sing-a-long choruses.

The Royals introduced a new track, "Bound and Drawn," later in the set that really showed off the group's folksy side. Make no mistake, the song still had a lot of punch to it, but the lyrics (or what I could make out over the screaming guitars) seemed to tell some sort of story under the brusque noise.

The entire set was filled with an array of fast-paced, punk style anthems and the band's passion for the music was evident throughout. From the smile that constantly crossed Rufus' face to the shoulder thrusts and movement of his band mates, you could tell that it didn't matter whether they were playing to one person or one thousand.

The band closed a great set with a cover of The Misfits' "Bullet." It was one of the best Misfits covers I have heard in a long while: An awesome end to an awesome set.

Here's hoping that the next time the Blacklist Royals show up in Phoenix, Phoenix can show up with them.

Set List:

"Rock and Roll"
"Jolie Blond"
"Bound and Drawn"
"Things They Say"
"Howling at the Moon"
"Tennessee Blues"
"American Hearts"
"Bullet" (Misfits cover)

Critic's Notebook

Last Night: Blacklist Royals at The Trunk Space

The Crowd: Sparse. Mostly twenty-somethings, with a few teens mixed in.

Overheard: A lot of talk about the heat.

Personal bias: Jake Krauss and I were born on the same day: August 24, 1989. So I have to rep for a brother, a bit. But he really did kill it up there.

Random Notebook Dump: "Blacklist Royals played a really tight set for a punk rock group. Hell, for any group."

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Wayne Schutsky