A Captive Audience

Earlier in the week I posted the fortune “Express yourself, do something creative.” The debate of if fortune cookies should be telling us our alleged future or just give us inspiring messages can rage on. The message in question, however, is the underlying reason I love music. You have people telling you their thoughts, their desires, and sometimes their humor through their talents of creating the sound of music. It is used to give you their views on a current event in their life or just vent. It comes together in great fashion tonight as Nothington and Western Settings comes to town.

Opening up the show is a fantastic local punk band that just keeps getting onto more shows as the year goes on, Rundown Roommates. As with the past couple times seeing them, it was another solid set of music and Elliot’s hair moving everywhere on the stage. Like the first I caught them, it was their drummer’s, Fredo, brother on drums. A cool, sentimental moment for the last song of the set was Tyler bringing up his mom on stage. She clearly knows all the lyrics. The momentum for Rundown Roommates just keeps speeding ahead.

On the topics of great bands expressing themselves, Reason Unknown is the one getting those political ideals out. Travis and Pat alternating singing songs led to a point after a couple songs Travis sang to discover the microphone was out for Pat. At some point it stopped in the previous songs, but once it was fixed the set went on. The crap talking about No Gimmick seemed to be lighter tonight. That didn’t stop Mike from furthering the fun rivalry midway through the set flipping the bird. Pat was all smiles about it as he played guitar. He was clearly entertained the entire time on that stage because later he moved to Mike, singing to him directly for a song. Reason Unknown continues to be one of the spotlights of the Phoenix scene.

Speaking of other spotlights in the scene, and the most energetic man on stage for years, No Gimmick rounded out our locals. Johnny is probably one of the most intense guitar players to watch on a stage. He likes to quite literally jump around while he plays too. Mike was not left behind, moving around the stage and playing to the audience members. The banter from Johnny continues to bring humor and interactivity to Mike’s love life plus the audience. No Gimmick doing what they do best tonight.

Western Settings I went in excited to see again. The first time I caught them was at the Rebel Riot back in November. They were a superb surprise from the night. Tonight they did not disappoint, only furthered why I loved watching them the first time. If looking for a description of how they sound, I’d probably place them close to Success.  Again, reemphasizing my point from the first time watching Western Settings is they are a high energy, fun band to watch. Tonight’s set was no different.

Although what would be different this time is they were the second most high energy band tonight, with Nothington bringing the excellent set. This is the first time I’ve seen them, but found myself blown away by it. They are a little bit hard like a Rise Against, but a little bit the punk sound like Red City Radio. Chris and Jay alternate on lead vocals making a great dynamic through the set. Tonight I learned from Luke about the original Tsunami Bomb ties in this band too, adding more to their allure. At the end of the night, I walked away having watched one of my favorite shows of the year so far with an excellent Nothington set closing it.

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