Kirkwood Dellinger EP Release at Yucca Tap Room

By Sarah Ventre

Better Than: A release party for a four song EP.

The legendary Yucca Tap Room is perhaps best known as a training ground where local bands come up before they hit it big. Many Phoenix stars has graced the stage with the neon beer light situated just above the soundboard that’s accessible to the band members to mix themselves. Given this, it’s not unreasonable to believe that keeping an eye on bands that frequent the friendly neighborhood watering hole might give you a glimpse of what’s to come in the future of Arizona music.

See a few more shots from the Kirkwood Dellinger EP release in our slide show Kirkwood Dellinger EP Release at Yucca Tap Room.

Last Saturday was no exception. Four talented local bands took the stage to celebrate the release of Kirkwood Dellinger’s second album, an 8-song EP entitled, Miniature Stallion. The name, according to band front man Elmo Kirkwood, is a direct reference to a man who died as a result of a perforated colon during anal sex with his equine lover.

While the band has been in existence for only about two years, they’ve made great strides for themselves. Their name is well known locally as a brand stamp for “experimental” music, unapologetic style, and strange personal encounters. Last summer they went on a West Coast tour opening for the valley’s own Meat Puppets. In complete punk rock DIY style, they raised the money themselves, borrowed a broken down van from a friend, made the necessary repairs, copied their own CDs, (which were recorded at home with cheap equipment,) complete with cover and CD art, and hit the road.

Their new record is a similar effort. Homemade drawings are coupled with living room recordings. Even the release party was planned and executed by the group. Their loyal friends, family, followers and fellow local bands turned out, and stayed from about 10:00 p.m. until nearly 2:00 a.m. to support the release of the new record.

Dry River Yacht Club, (who is about to embark on a tour of their own,) started the evening off with their six-piece somewhat indefinable experimental sound, combining a multitude of instruments, and recreating a somewhat older folk sound with a thoroughly modern take.

Kinch took the stage next, with an alt-rock pop style reminiscent of a few Brit bands, and hearkened back to the sensibilities of ‘60s garage rock. They put out simple, no-frills rock with plenty of guitar and clear, prominent vocals, and they execute it beautifully.

Long time valley rockers the Necronauts were happy to add their presence, energy, and crowd pull that they have a knack for. The power trio's short, straightforward songs had plenty of high voltage power certainly got the crowd moving. In punk style, they talked very little and played one song right after the other, with little pause. Much to the audience’s pleasure, they packed in a hell of a lot of music into the time that they had.

The evening culminated in the appearance of Kirkwood Dellinger, with newest member Chelsea on keys and backing vocals. They took no hesitation in pitching their new material to the crowd, and after just one song there was a shameless plug to purchase their latest project. Much unlike their predecessors of the evening, they took plenty of time in between songs, changing instruments, getting ready for what was coming next, and talking to the crowd. Some of it could not be helped, and major problems with Yucca’s notoriously crappy sound system threw a wrench in the works. Though it temporarily disrupted the evening, everyone took it in strides. It gave the crowd just enough time to grab a cig and a drink refill, and get their hands on their very own copy of the new disc.

While the band is often categorized as experimental, this designation comes from the inability of the listener to compartmentalize them into one of the numerous sub-genres now used to describe rock music. The two front men, Elmo Kirkwood and Brian Dellinger, come from different places musically, and it’s heard in the end product. Garage rock and punk are blended with ‘60s psychedelia, and topped with often fairy tale lyrics, a little bit more out there than your run of the mill rock band. The result is a simple, yet layered sound.

The whole evening was a huge success, and as the last chord rang out in the dank walls of the Tempe strip mall, the lights started flashing and the employees starting yelling, “You got ten minutes!”

Random Detail: Cris Kirkwood of The Meat Puppets was in attendance to cheer Kirkwood Dellinger on.

Personal Bias: Kirkwood Dellinger members constantly switched instruments. What I wouldn't give to be a multi-instrumentalist.

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Jonathan McNamara

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