Zero Zero Album Release Party @ Rogue Bar | 10/5/12
As you might notice by the timing of this posting, I come from that age-old school of being fashionably late. (I try to limit these things to social gatherings, dinner dates and house parties, but every so often the habit bleeds over into work.) I've always argued that there are socially-acceptable instances to be late, but last night's highly anticipated album release party at the Rogue Bar in Scottsdale proved to not be one of them as local indie radio station KWSS and day program The Morning Infidelity put together a kick ass lineup for the live debut of newly minted electro-fuzz generators, Zero Zero.
The new project is the brainchild of Love Me Nots singer Nicole Laurenne and guitarist Michael Johnny Walker. Along with drummer Nick Ramirez, the trio used the show to launch their new album, MAYDAY. Local favorites A Life of Science, Doctor Bones, Peachcake and The Madera Strand were on hand for support.
True to form, I arrived a little past 9 p.m., but in time to catch sci-fi rockers A Life of Science. The sound system at the Rogue was already blaring by then and an excited crowd filled the entire room. Super bright cymbal splashes and singer James Keenan's high-pitched delivery dominated the set that also marked somewhat of a send off for bassist Travis Alexander who is moving to Los Angeles. The quartet called it quits after about 40-minutes and quickly cleared the stage.
New wave punksters Doctor Bones went up next. Wearing matching red and black attire, the 5-piece "robot-infused dino-rock" group relied on high energy and a bit of the old drama to work up concertgoers. Vocalist Anthony Fama and bass player Jess Pruitt were animated and drastic in their movements while keyboardist Hannah Kilen, guitarist Chad Stark and drummer Mike Vigil stood more poised behind their instruments. Together they maintained a dance-friendly beat while Fama's throaty monotone voice battled it out with Kilen's softer siren. The set ended with a shirtless Fama dancing and singing on the bar.
During set changes songs by Bananarama, Kanye West and Prodigy kept the crowd grooving.
Zero Zero took the stage next after another brief intermission. The scene looked familiar enough with Laurenne looking ravishing behind her keys and signature dark black bangs, and the always dashing Walker manning his shiny white guitar. Once the music started we were treated to some of the garage grit we've come to love over the years, but it didn't take long to see the new direction of this project. Ramirez kept a pulsing pace on drums while Walker ripped off striking chords. Laurenne added playful electronic accents on keyboard as programmed beats looped in the background to meld into the poppier sensibilities the band promised. The first half of the set was filled with the more upbeat tracks from the new record including a dedication of "Drug" to Beef Vegan, and slowed into a more brooding mood as they wrapped up. They closed appropriately enough with a cover of, "A Girl Like You."
Peachcake took a little longer to set up and the crowd slowly started to dissipate. Once they got started singer Stefan Pruett wasted no time involving fans. He jumped off stage and danced freely with the remaining concertgoers throughout the bar. Heavy on the echo and percussion, the set was a fun-filled fiasco, complete with laser ray sounds. All that was missing was Debbie Deb singing, "Look Out Weekend."
It was a great start to Phoenix's newest promising act.
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Critic's Notebook: Last Night: Zero Zero at the Rogue Bar in Scottsdale. Personal Bias: I love me my synth sounds. The Crowd: 24 hour part people types. Random Notebook Dump: I wonder if people covered their drinks when Fama jumped on the bar. Man, was he sweaty.