The Ataris at Tempe Marketplace

By Jonathan McNamara

Better than: any of the other shows I’ve witnessed at Tempe Marketplace

See more shots in our Ataris slideshow.

When New Times covered Carolina Liar in July, the crowd at Tempe Marketplace was less than half of what it was for The Ataris last night. Sure, Carolina liar was competing with the release of The Dark Knight but I’m guessing there’s another reason these dudes pulled the sea of fans they did. They’re us.

Maybe it’s their flannel shirts or the fact that physically they look more like the kind of dudes interested in playing Mario Kart and munching on burgers than the ultra-skinny, girl jean-clad rock stars that seem to dominate the charts, but the Ataris seem to be a bunch of average Joes that just want to rock.

Just how down to Earth are the Ataris? Shortly before the encore, Singer Kristopher Roe told the crowd “We’re going to act like this is the last song, but we’ve got three more after this, ok?”

Over the course of the hour plus set, The Ataris cycled through most of their catalog including “So Long Astoria” and Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer,” playing almost every song “for the fans”

For their part, the fans screamed their Atari-loving lungs out for the band to play their favorite tracks. Some were so obscure that Roe himself said he didn’t remember how to play them though he appreciated the fans “staying up with the weird ones.”

Shortly before playing “Your boyfriend sucks,” Roe let the audience know that “this is for the ones in the back; the wallflowers,” as if he was speaking to himself at some earlier stage of life and experience.

During the last song, Roe picked a punk named Logan out of the crowd to play along with them. Logan was speechless and so completely in awe that he tried to put his guitar on backwards. When Jake Dwiggins kicked in the drums, Logans hands played even if his face seemed to be asking “am I really doing this?”

Logan plays with Chris Swinney

Despite his shock, Logan fit right in. Hell, he even looked like the rest of the band. He didn’t have to paint his face or slip into leather pants. He got on stage in a black T-shirt and a pair of shorts and played an Ataris song with the rest of the band. Yet somehow, you could tell that he was star-struck by these guys who are just like him.

Personal Bias: I like to maintain an air of professionalism when I’m covering a gig, but when one crowd surfer landed skull first into the ground after getting thrown over the barrier and blood started gushing from his head I couldn’t help but let loose an “oh shit!”

Random Detail: Members of the Edge 103.9 let the crowd know that The Ataris are the last Third Thursday concert scheduled for Tempe Marketplace. Oh, you want to know where the next concert will be? Guess what you’re going to have to do. That’s right. Keep on listening to The Edge.