Making my way into Crescent (after battling through downtown baseball traffic), I managed to catch the last couple songs of indie-pop darlings Diners. Drummer Tristan Jemsek and songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Tyler Broderick harmonized over chugging guitars and erudite leads from Broderick. "Good Friends," from the band's stellar EP, Throw Me a Ten, was a standout, though the band's newest material -- with lounge-pop melodies and sturdy Blue-and-Pinkerton-era Weezer muscle -- sounds like it could show up the band's debut.
On the outdoor stage, with a light-to-moderate drizzle coming down, Phoenix rockers Mergence plied their own brand of beefy rock, though it veers toward the heavier end of the rock dial. The band trotted out a confident version of The Beatles' "Happiness Is a Warm Gun," which is a bold move. The crowd and band were undeniably into it, but I'm of the idea that covering the Fab Four should be left to Beatles cover bands; personally, I think the individual Beatles' solo LPs are rife for exploration. I'd love to hear Mergence try its hand at Paul McCartney's "Eat at Home" or George Harrison's "Wah Wah." Could you imagine a Mergence cover of "Cold Turkey?"
On the inside stage, Phoenix soul/R&B royalty Stan Devereaux & The Funky Suns took the stage, opening with a crack take on Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up," which blended into a seven- or eight-minute meditation on Dyke and The Blazers "Funky Broadway." Devereaux took a minute to ease into his falsetto, but once he did, it was there. The Funky Suns are the hardest-working backing band in town, bringing organ flurries, psychedelic lead guitar, and a rock-solid rhythm section. "It ain't raining in here," Devereaux joked. "Remember where you are; you're at the Crescent Ballroom. If you get too fucked up, I'll help you call a cab."