Barring any acts of God that could lay downtown Phoenix to waste, Nanami Ozone will have the distinct pleasure of performing the first parking lot concert at Gracie’s Tax Bar.
This isn’t a typical show for the local band either, which will take place on Friday, March 15, with DJ Jazzmaster Jax, San Francisco “weirdo pop” band Healing Potpourri, and Valley favorites Dent and Rotting Yellow. The party celebrates the release of the quartet’s second full-length album, NO, which will be released by Carolina-based indie label Tiny Engines on the same day.
The band has teased four tracks from the record so far. On the upbeat “Alone Too,” singer/guitarist Sophie Opich croons against swirling guitars about the inherent loneliness after a breakup and the temptation to call one’s erstwhile partner because “nothing is going right” ever since they left. “The Art of Sleeping In” fills your ears with a dark, dreamy wall of feedback as guitarist Colson Miller and Opich trade vocals. The track recalls the halcyon days of alternative music when Galaxie 500 was on the college rock charts. It feels poppy, peculiar, and intensely personal.
The band, which also include drummer Chris Gerber and Jordan Owen (a.k.a. Petty Things) on bass, wanted to challenge themselves and capture the intensity of their live shows with NO. They didn’t want a complete retread of Desire, their first (and well-received) 2016 record, so they looked toward indie bands like Ovlov and their new labelmates Spirit of the Beehive for inspiration.
“We went toward the darker, heavier side, but what came out was the softer, sweeter stuff from Desire,” says Gerber.
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Nanami Ozone’s songs would fit right in with the eclectic selections on the jukebox at Gracie’s Tax Bar. The band were looking to put on an event that was a little outside the norm and Grace Perry, the bar’s owner and former singer of the local death metal band Landmine Marathon, has wanted to put on a big event that the neighborhood could enjoy (Gerber is also a bartender at the establishment). Putting it together is a win-win for all involved.
“Their music is amazing,” says Perry. “They are such good people who love and support Phoenix. Speaking as an ex-musician, bands like Nanami Ozone were the most fun to work and tour with. Anything I can do for them, I am going to do.”
The band has been working closely with Gracie’s event planner, Jade Noble, to make sure everything from the permits to the port-a-potties is taken care of. There will also be a photo booth and a food truck. Perry says there will likely be more parking lot events in the future, including a possible yard sale, but because the bar isn't a music venue they have to be selective about what they take on.
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In the months leading up to NO’s release, Nanami Ozone have been the recipient of well-deserved attention from national music blogs and indie radio stations. It’s exciting to see, but those who follow local music can’t help but wonder how much time we have left with Nanami Ozone before they try to establish themselves again in a different city. The band admit the subject has been discussed on several occasions, but they have no intentions of leaving Arizona anytime soon and are proud to be part of the community.
“Phoenix really does offer a lot of the things you can get in other cities,” says Owen. “It’s a touring destination, it has great venues and local bands that we love.”
“People in the community genuinely care and have a lot of pride in their craft,” adds Miller. “It creates such passionate artists.”
Nanami Ozone. 7 p.m. Friday, March 15, at Gracie’s Tax Bar, 711 North Seventh Avenue; 602-366-0111; nanamiozone.com. Tickets are $10.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the date of the show, as well as misidentifying a side project of one of the band members. Jordan Owen, not Chris Gerber, performs as DJ Petty Things, and the date of the show is Friday, March 15, not Saturday.