RAW Showcase with The Deer Leader, Francis Dean and Bad Lucy, Martini Ranch, 9/20/12

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RAW: Natural Born Artists Showcase with The Deer Leader, Francis Dean and Bad Lucy @ Martini Ranch | Thursday, September 20

What's an art showcase without a little live music at the helm?

Underground art allies, RAW Phoenix, called on local acts The Deer Leader, Francis Dean and Bad Lucy to provide the soundtrack at last night's exhibition at the Martini Ranch in Scottsdale. The three bands were hand-selected to perform at the fashion/burlesque show, art showing and Ear Candy charity event, showing off their goods in blistering thirty-minute sets.

See also: Phoenix Gets RAW with Bad Lucy, The Deer Leader and Francis Dean

As we waited for the music to start, some Scottsdale socialites perused the perimeter of the small live music venue, taking in the walls of portraits and hanging art displays, while others mingled with iced drinks in their hands. Bad Lucy got things rolling as the gathering promptly directed their attention to the stage with the first note.

Guitarist/singer J. Miller dished out high-pitched vocals while bassist Alex Kyhn laid down a funky bass line and drummer Alex Lee rattled off snapping snare hits. The short set flew by with the trio playing familiar songs like "Forward" and "Joker," but also mixed in some tracks off of their new EP. For some reason the crowd created a self-imposed barrier some five-feet away from the stage, but Miller was able to coerce them closer. They wrapped up a tight set with a slow-rolling rendition of, "Wade in the Water."

Folk/rock duo Francis Dean took the stage next after a 15-minute set change. Relying on twangy guitar strums and an electronic drum kit, the Mesa-natives spent the majority of their set ignored by most of the crowd until they finally picked up the tempo to their John Mayer vibe. They had a harder time connecting with the crowd as their banter fell on deaf ears, but they eventually got people into it when they invited everyone to dance to "Open Your Eyes."

The Deer Leader closed out the music element of the event with a fun and lively turn. Vocalist Nick Danford led the charge with an energetic delivery and gritty vocals while rocking guitar riffs lit up the room. It was my first time hearing the five-piece band, but I really dug on their blues-infused Americana and penchant for ice cream sandwiches.

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: The Deer Leader, Francis Dean and Bad Lucy @ Martini Ranch

Better Than: A Scottsdale art showcase without live music. Funny how music instantly makes anything better.

The Crowd: Playing up to the burlesque theme, I spotted corset-clad cabaret girls, lace and polka dot dresses, and bow ties.

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