TMI on KWSS brought out just about every big local act they could for their Feast For The Famished concert at Tempe's Sail Inn on the day before Thanksgiving. More than 300 people piled into the beloved local dive to hear great tunes ping-ponging back and forth from their outdoor stage to the indoor stage and back.
The event kicked off at 7 P.M. with the Valley's reigning kings of desert reggae, The Hourglass Cats. The Sail Inn is a venue that THC consistently kills--from their inception to their May album release all the way to now, THC always shows out on the Sail Inn outdoor stage.
The ever-fluctuating lineup of The Hourglass Cats was in fine form as a five piece, with sole original member Cori Rios on vocals and guitar, second-longest-tenured Cat Chaz Fertal on the saxophone, former Valley Love guitarist Jason Sessler on bass, Nick Arocho from the ASU drumline on the drum kit, and trombone player Lisa Lizanec.
"Our set was great for an early one," Rios said. "Our new drummer Nick is definitely getting into our groover considering how little we've played with him." Sessler shared Rios's sentiments towards Arocho and so did headliners KONGOS, as all four brothers were in the house early to catch THC's fun and energetic sounds.
Adding to the fervor for The Hourglass Cats was the presence of former Valley Love lyricist and regular THC collaborator Jordan Hall, who joined his former bandmate for two THC tracks, including their ode to nice asses, "Yoga Butt," and their upcoming single, "Too Damn Rude."
Following THC the music bounced to the Sail Inn's inside stage for Phoenix-based hard rock act Watch For Rocks, and the six piece held their own for a still-growing crowd of about 40 people.
After Watch For Rocks, Tempe-based Jared and The Mill took the outside stage sounding tighter than ever, still riding high following their recent album release. For Jared and The Mill the crowd got noticeably bigger, swelling by easily more than 100 people during their set.
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As the crowd grew, so did the numerous local music regulars like Danger Paul Balaz of Danger Paul and the Pschadelephants, Joel Ekdahl of Exploding Oranges, members of Flagstaff-based The Wiley One, and Tristan Dede of Future Loves Past. A staple of any great local Phoenix show is support from the greater music community.
With bands starting up inside while bands were still playing outside it was not only difficult to keep track of who was on stage when, but absolutely impossible to see all of anything. During Jared and The Mill's set Fat Grey Cat was on the inside stage.
Banana Gun got going next; the venue continued to fill in while Kevin Hoight, his dreadlocks, and his four bandmates filled the stage with good old rock and roll. One thing is evident about all of the members of Banana Gun: They are all big classic rock fans. Banana Gun is one of the Valley's most well liked bands, and for good reason; they even did Pink Floyd justice during their cover of "Another Brick in The Wall."
Banana Gun displayed a command of their instruments and audience that many of the other bands could not attain. With hardly any banter Banana Gun is still able to engage the audience and have them grooving and feeling embraced by the sound. Radio personality Marc Norman, who described Banana Gun as "the greatest band in the world" before they took stage, shot his hands in the air as if he'd caught the holy ghost during their set.
While Banana Gun was finishing up, Argentina-based garage-rock three piece Capsula took the inside stage and turned the night upside down. What was a relaxing evening among local music aficionados and friends turned into a '60s proto-punk concert in some underground basement.
Capsula was easily the most energetic band of the night, going absolutely bonkers on the inside stage. Front man Martin Guevara was a dynamo on stage, reminiscent of "Howlin" Pele Almqvist of The Hives.
Guevara jumped and jived like a madman on stage--until he decided the stage wasn't enough and took his guitar out onto the dance floor. The burst of garage rock Capsula borught to the stage was like a lightning bolt in the venue getting all those who listened moving and shaking--including Danger Paul, who stood front row center for the entirety, and Dede, who was off to stage left grooving.
While Capsula continued playing, consummate local headliner Black Carl took the outside stage. Capsula's crowd drifted outside to hear the jazzy Emma Pew and company heat things up on the cool November evening.
Chad Leonard popped a string early in the set, but did not miss a beat and sounded as good as should be expected of an experienced headliner with an earned following of loyal fans. "It was awesome opening for Black Carl," Sessler told me. "They've had such a big fan base for so long, and it's easy to see why."
Fat Grey Cat got going inside, and played valiantly, but what can a band do going up against KONGOS? The South-African-born but Phoenix-based fraternal four piece are a juggernaut on the Phoenix scene. On every local stage they grace, KONGOS are proof that headliners headline.
Following KONGOS The Love Me Nots took the inside stage, and performed one of the best sets of the night, "The Love Me Nots absolutely killed it, they were a show stealer for me," said RIos.
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Find any show in the Valley via the Phoenix New Times online concert calendar