Music News

Paper Foxes Headlines a Night of New Wave at KWSS' Fall Fundraiser Show

Paper Foxes will headline the KWSS fundraiser this weekend.
Paper Foxes will headline the KWSS fundraiser this weekend. Bryant Redd
After 18 months of build-up, KWSS 93.9 FM is hosting its first concert since the pandemic started. The independent alternative radio station’s Fall Fundraiser will be hosted on Saturday at Last Exit Live, just south of downtown.

Their last show was on March 15, 2020, in what KWSS radio host and promotions and marketing manager Dani Cutler says holds a “special place” in her heart.

“Everyone knew everything was shutting down at that point,” she says. “And I think everybody wanted to come out and just kind of have that last hurrah before we couldn't for a while.”

Cutler expects Saturday’s show to be just as special, as the event is headlined by Paper Foxes, longtime friends of the station and Phoenix New Times' pick for Best Band of 2021.

“Oh, my goodness, they're incredible,” Cutler says, who saw the band at their first show at Crescent Ballroom years ago. “The progression in them has just been fantastic. I love them so much.”

The band’s sound is somewhere between New Wave and disco, and even lead singer CJ Jacobson struggles to nail his group down sometimes.

“​​A few years ago, Phoenix New Times called us a ‘death disco’ band,” he says with a laugh. “I think that still suits us really well. We've got something kind of dark and moody going on, but it's also really danceable.”

As for Saturday night’s show, Jacobson says the band has a couple of unique additions to their set planned: brand-new matching outfits and a recently learned cover the band thinks fans will definitely recognize.

The modern '80s sound that Paper Foxes has become known for in the Valley will be the inspiration for the rest of the evening. Other performers include Electric Sol, MRCH, and The Numan League, the latter of which is exactly what it sounds like: a tribute to Gary Numan and The Human League.

Cutler says she couldn’t possibly decide which artist she is most excited to see, but the one she hasn’t yet seen live is Electric Sol.

“Honestly, I'm excited to just be there the whole evening,” she says. “It's gonna have such a fun, dance party '80s vibe to it.”

click to enlarge From left, Jay Cairo, Dani Cutler, Dubs White, Frank Magarelli, and Brian Defox of KWSS pose at Last Exit Live. - HARRY BUEDEL
From left, Jay Cairo, Dani Cutler, Dubs White, Frank Magarelli, and Brian Defox of KWSS pose at Last Exit Live.
Harry Buedel
The Fall Fundraiser is a huge opportunity for KWSS, which is entirely volunteer-run. These fundraisers help the station stay afloat, and it’s impossible to overstate the importance of the symbiotic relationship between local music and local radio.

“This is our 16th year, and being able to support local music the way we have is a way that is really unique,” Cutler says. “We have been able to support not just local music, but of course, local small business and just the community as a whole.”

Cutler emphasized how the station is able to help support local music using the “marathon, not a sprint” mentality. The more listeners continue tuning in, the more they get familiar with local artists and are inclined to support those artists. That relationship is something Jacobson says Paper Foxes really cherishes.

“I feel like bands and small stations having a relationship is really big," he says. “There's just kind of this really, really amazing grassroots feeling to it.”

Cutler is just excited to be able to witness that relationship in person again. She hasn’t seen many of the bands or friends of the station since the pandemic began, and is ready to be back in the same room celebrating local radio.

“I feel like I'm meeting up with family and friends again, and the people that I love, you know — that's kind of what I want to happen,” she said. “That is what KWSS is about, at its core, is community.”

KWSS Fall Fundraiser. 8 p.m. Saturday, November 13. Last Exit Live, 717 South Central Avenue. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event is required for entry. Tickets start at $15 and are $20 if purchased the day of the show.
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Gannon Hanevold is the Phoenix New Times editorial intern.
Contact: Gannon Hanevold