On a sweltering Sunday night in early May, a young-skewing crowd of roughly 50 black-clad hardcore fans packed around the tiny stage in the sweaty basement of the Nile Theater in Mesa. The main attraction of the evening was Georgia screamo band Circle Takes the Square, but this crowd was currently interested in Lilith, a Phoenix band formed in November that was about to start its set.
The stage in the Underground is only a foot off the ground, making the space between crowd and band almost nonexistent. Sarah McCann, the short, 18-year-old singer with bangs, red glasses, and a tattoo of a tarot card on the inside of her left bicep, stands with one foot on the stage and one in the crowd, facing her bandmates. The band starts a slow-building, atmosphere-setting intro.
"When this starts, you might want to be careful with your camera," McCann says with a smile to a photographer standing next to her.