Vial of Sound @ Crescent Ballroom, 4/13/2013
Obviously, I was not at Coachella. But I don't get what the big deal about it is, so I didn't care. Besides, something great happens when a bunch of local talent comes together. Sure, music scenes have their pitfalls, their petty grudges, the recycled relationships, but as far as the Valley of the Sun goes, most people are pretty freaking awesome. (You probably already know that, but don't get a big head and make this place suck, okay?)
See also: Vial of Sound are living in analog.
So I was disappointed that I was late and walked in on Treasure Mammal for its last song. I got to touch the Santa Claus and watch Abe and A Claire and everyone dog-pile on stage, so at least there's that. And the drummers with the 311 shirts were most hilarious. I'm pretty sure they ended with "Best Friends Forever." I also missed Spirit Cave. I suck.
Peachcake picked up where Treasure Mammal left off, with Stefan Pruett dressed in white and wearing goggles, resembling the TV-shrinkage scene in Willy Wonka coupled with Jesus. The drums made me drool, especially the cowbell, which reminded me a lot of LCD Soundsystem for some reason. Most of all, Peachcake's energy was fantastic; they bounced around the stage like they had Moon Shoes on.
Yet, the crowd was dead. Drinks hadn't taken hold yet, it appears. Until something changes in this town and we get more enthusiasm, I'll continue to point out the dead crowd every time an audience in Phoenix just stands there, arms crossed, looking like stray cattle. It's a respect thing, and the reason you paid $10 at the door.
That energy changed for Wooden Indian, who started out their set with some slow, rhythmic guitar that might remind you of The Devil Whale or Battles. First of all, how many members are there in Wooden Indian now? Last time I saw them, there were like five. Now it's closer to 10. Anyway, despite being relatively more chilled out, the audience was closer, swaying in tune and generally more enthusiastic. It was kind of bipolar.
And then finally, it was Vial of Sound's turn.
First, I'd like to take a moment to recognize the folks making this whole night even more tuned into the local scene, including the between-set DJ The Holy Coast and the live artists, Abe-z Ram-z Rezidual, Deon Doughty, and Carlos Rivas. Things like this make live environments even better.
VOS cut into their set with "Ghost Ditch," pushing forward with fervor, and the enthusiasm was shared. The video synthesizer was way better than the last time I saw them, when Kym Gooday wasn't there. She really has a talent for it. In the words of The Dude, it really tied the room together. And for songs like "The Day We Both Died" and "Save The Night," people were really, finally dancing and letting loose.
The vocoder is my favorite part. It may sound like a cheesy robot sometimes, but VOS makes it fit in without being campy. For their encore, Josh said he didn't have any more songs -- they'd played through their entire catalog. To compromise, the band just jammed for a little while, ending the night perfectly.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Last Night: Vial of Sound, Wooden Indian, Peachcake, Treasure Mammal and Spirit Cave at Crescent Ballroom
The Crowd: My favorite group of people, as usual. Dozens of musicians and friends and artists and cool people.
Overheard: "This music is like space. This music is like Star Trek."
Personal Bias: I don't have any bias toward Phoenix, do I? Gasp!