In fact, it was a pair of local gimmick bands who helped me segue to the Valley's vibrant local music scene. Back in 2004, I became a fan of both the Minibosses and Flagstaff's I Hate You When You're Pregnant after attending gigs by both bands at such venues as Modified Arts and the Argo. Both bands served as something of a gateway drug to the rest of the PHX indie music community as I then learned about other awesome PHX groups, such as After Any Accident, Meathwhistle, The Necronauts, Blanche Davidian, Colorstore, et cetera.
There's a certain shelf life to gimmick bands, however, where the novelty of their schtick can eventually get tiresome, either to its fans or performers (or both).However, I never grew weary at the madcap machinations of Phil Buckman, the 30something Flagstaff freak behind IHYWYP. And since it had been a half decade since I'd seen him last, I was more than a little eager to see his performance on Saturday night.
While the night had very little to do with either science or technology, what it did have in abundance was the aforementioned gimmick bands. L.A.'s Wizwars got a huge response with his Gameboy-controlled chiptune jams, inducing a couple dozen of Expo attendees to crowd around him and pump their fists into the air and dance spastically while 8-bit music pumped out of the Trunk Space's sound system.
Speaking of spastic gymnastics, both Treasure Mammal and Fathers Day provided both in spades, albeit with micro-sized sets of around 15 minutes. Each act also performed songs from and upcoming Joe Arpaio compilation/split seven-inch that's been in the works for awhile.
Another group I really dug was Santa Cruz folk-punk act Blackbird Raum, who pushed an old-timey aesthetic that was very Andrew Jackson Jihad-like, but with a bigger mix of instruments (including washboards and accordions).
But all of these efforts only served to whet my appetite for IHYWYP. In a way, Buckman helped paved the way for local shtick-happy, costume-wearing, throw-yourself-around bands like Treasure Mammal and Fathers Day. And while I'm a fan of both, it was cool watching their progenitor after having not attended one of his shows in five years.
Phil's mix of songs leaned heavily on new material, consisting mostly of stuff he'll be releasing on a new demo sometime in the coming weeks. At the same time, he also busted out with a few old favorites, such as "They Got My Picture in An Issue of Thrasher." And while Buckman's costume wasn't as elaborate as IHYWYP shows in the past (I saw him wearing a multicolored jumpsuit at Holgas once) and consisted of just some underwear, it was still a blast to watch him roar out his weird-ass lyrics to even weirder drum machine techno.
Can't wait for that new demo.