The Black Moods bring their A game to any performance, but even the band admits that there's going to be something special about their May 21 show at Marquee Theatre in Tempe, the first big show they've played locally since the pandemic began.
"We’ve been rehearsing all week," says drummer Chico Diaz. "We put a little more thought into the setlist on this one instead of shooting from the hip. This one, we’re going through songs and working on transitions and bringing in production, too, so we’ll have lighting and background stuff. So for the first show back at Marquee, we’re definitely putting a lot more work into this one."
What's on the setlist? Certainly the Billboard-charting tracks from 2020's Sunshine, like "Bella Donna" and "Throwing Shade." And their cover of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "I Need to Know," for which they made a riotous music video last fall.
But ticketholders will get an additional treat: The band also plans to play new music from its upcoming album that will be released this fall.
Instead of touring Sunshine last year like they had planned, the band rolled with the pandemic punches and recorded a new LP instead.
"When we found out we couldn’t tour anymore, we moved our studio to Missouri," says bassist Jordan Hoffman. "The head of our record label [Steelhorse Entertainment/The Fuel] has a home there that we set up our studio in. We spent all summer tracking and recording and writing the new album. We kind of took our time for this one ... we had a lot of time off so we spent a lot of time reworking songs, rewriting things, and trying new things."
Diaz says the new music represents a graduation from Sunshine; vocalist and guitarist Josh Kennedy says the feel of the album is influenced by the rural Midwest surroundings.
"There was no touring, it was the middle of summer, and you know how hot it gets here — we thought we might as well go to the country and hit the creeks and the lakes and that kind of thing, and I think a lot of that environment seeped into this album," he says.
New music isn't the only thing The Black Moods have going on: Their second wine, Sunshine, was recently released through Su Vino Winery in Scottsdale. (It's described as fun and refreshing, with tree fruit aromas and flavors of green apple and pear.)
After more than a year away from metro Phoenix stages, Kennedy says that the band is jonesing for that give-and-take with the audience, the vibe that you just can't get from a livestream.
"We were doing the livestreams. We did a few of them," he says. "It was just strange, you know, playing to no one. ... The feedback from the audience was not there. We’re looking forward to that. That’s everything."
Diaz says, "The energy you draw from the crowd is rejuvenating. I can’t wait to be up there again."
The Black Moods. With Sliced Limes, The Real Fakes, and Wyves. Doors at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m., Friday, May 21. Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, Tempe. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $30 for balcony.