Concert Review

Stone Foxes Sweep On Into Ruby Room

San Francisco by way of Fresno rock newbies Stone Foxes dropped by Phoenix's Ruby Room Saturday night as part of their Sweep The West Tour. The band is young, fresh and full of talent - not to mention they possess some incredible rock chops. The band can rip it up at a moment's notice, screaming and wailing over their trademark blues guitar riffs. Where they make their mark is being able to transition into a more calmer, melodic tune, such as "Mercury." The Foxes' set on Saturday was more catered to their harder, louder songs, and the crowd was more than appreciative of that. Drummer Shannon Koehler started things off with a howling harmonica solo, setting the tone for a set that was sure to satiate man's inherent need for some modern rock heavily influenced by 60's blues and folk.

The Foxes aren't setting out to create a new music revolution. I don't want to them to. I want to picture them doing exactly what they did onstage Saturday night - having fun, twanging away on their guitars and occasionally belting out their songs to the back row. The band is carrying a tradition of making rock music drenched in Americana, rocking and howling on into the night. It is a genre that has been done before, but it is one that lends itself to a surprising array of diferent sounds and arrangements. The Foxes kept their set fresh, managing to play songs that stand out on their own, not meshing into one another thus creating a similar sounding heap of blues guitar, harmonica and scraggly vocals.

The Stone Foxes are a young band and this is their first tour, but their stage presence is beyond their years. They weren't without an occasional slip up, like when bassist Avi Vinocur booted his tambourine on into the crowd. The lucky lady it ended up with was delighted to have it, eventually returning it to it's rightful place back on stage. The tone for the night was to have fun, and the Stone Foxes thrilled the crowd that stuck around for their set. They told everyone in attendance that they were happy to be in Phoenix, and those in the crowd returned the sentiment - albeit with an apology for the less than capacity crowd. That didn't bother the Foxes one bit as they glided through their raucous, captivating and all-around enjoyable set.

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night:
The Stone Foxes at The Ruby Room

Better Than: Having to listen to actual country music or anything Blues Traveler recorded.

Personal Bias:
The band's manager Joe was a very accommodating fellow, making everything surrounding the band very positive and very easy to work with.

Random Detail: Bassist Avi Vincour's voice was shot, leaving the other members to fill in for his singing. You could have fooled me, though, as their vocals sounded great.

Further Listening: "Beneath Mt. Sinai" at the band's myspace

By The Way: I don't care if Prehab is a local band. The Stone Foxes were exponentially better - yet they had about half the crowd.

One More Thing: That flier of the week? It was drawn and created by the members of the band.

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Michael Lopez