Rallying For Riley

Cancer is a disease that is tragic for anyone to have. It is worse when it happens to a kid, who has to then grow up quickly when they should be enjoying their lack of responsibilities and dreaming about their future. You have seen me attend and bring it up on here before, when we had a benefit show for Hunter Keener. However, another family of a friend has had it strike for a nephew who is only eleven and now diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma Cancer. I tend to avoid swearing in my writing, but once again I will here. Friends and bands have come together this last Saturday night to raise money for Riley and to jointly say “Fuck Cancer.”

It opened up over at 51 West, with one of my favorite younger bands, Zero Degrees North. If you haven’t heard them before, I would describe them as Nerf Herder mixed with garage rock. Headed by Garrett and Ava, brother and sister, with Annabelle on drums they bring a good vibe. That’s not to mention how much Ava jumps around while playing. Actually, she kind of moshes and runs around the crowd with her bass when the stage is near ground level. If you haven’t checked them out yet, I recommend, at minimum, going to their Bandcamp to listen to their new album.

Jumping to the Yucca Tap Room, which will be the alternating pattern for the night, I was catching another band for my second time, Madd Dog Tannen. These dudes are funny to watch, and play great music with it. They love to move around and dance. That point was brought home watching the set. They are mostly a punk rock and rock ‘n roll mix to their set, with two covers for good measure. I enjoyed watching Madd Dog Tannen a lot in the two times so far.

Back to the other part of the sidewalk, I found myself hearing the reverbs of bass before entering to see it originating from Aerico. These guys were the most experimental band of the night. I think I would describe it as an experimental garage rock. Aerico was one of the most entertaining to watch. At one point during the set, the microphone was wrapped around the frame that supports the ceiling tiles and their lead singer sang into it as it dangled above. If every set is like that, I could see myself watching Aerico more.

Next I headed back to catch Jorge’s other band, Two Bit Johnnies. This is the most pop punk band I think I’ve seen him perform in. Lead vocals seemed to alternate between their bassist and drummer the most, adding a nice dynamic. They were a band that just looked like they were having fun playing up there. I’m sure I’ll catch more of Two Bit Johnnies going forward.

Then we came to one of the two hardest punk rock groups of the night, Heatstroke.  Entering 51 West, there was already a little mosh pit going on for them. Their loud, fast and hard punk rock had the crowd moving around. It probably was the infectious nature of their lead vocalist, Zack, getting into it as he sang. They know how to make a set exciting to watch.

Bouncing back over to Yucca, it was time for the “Oi” punk rock with the Industry. Bo didn’t touch the stage, as he moved around the floor the entire time with that microphone. With him was a circle pit that included me for some of the set. The set got a little longer as Bo improvised with a couple more added in. Given a lot of the crowd in Yucca was there to watch the Industry, he was just feeding them more of what they wanted. That was probably one of the most fun parts of my night. I always enjoy catching The Industry any time they play.

After that, we came to the other hard punk rock band, Kill Your TV. This four-piece puts a bunch of energy into it. They have a good underlying music sound to accompany the harder sung lyrics. Aaron emotes and gets into his vocals, leaning up and into that microphone. They end their set on knocking over the drums and leaving chords playing on the instruments for a good effect. If you have yet to see a Kill Your TV set, I can recommend you add it to your “To Do” list for 2017.

The band to follow next at Yucca Tap Room was one you have seen me talk about a bit this year, Rundown Roommates. They are a high energy, full of entertaining banter, punk rock band that keeps getting more shows. Well deserving of it too. Tonight had their normal drummer playing, which seems to alternate each time I see them. This was our first hint at how much Tyler admires True Rivals too. However, I will discuss that more once we get to their set. For now, you should be sure to check out Rundown Roommates. Chances are they will probably be playing a show you are planning to see anyways.

Last up over at the 51 West was our single ska offering, and my second time in three days catching, Bowcat. Delivering a similar set of songs, and high energy performance, they had the crowd moving. There were people dancing to Bowcat I hadn’t seen move all night. Plus they actually couldn’t all fit on the stage there, and Dane took advantage most of the floor. At one point, he was playing sax outside in front of the venue. You know my stance on these guys at this point. Bowcat is one of the best ska bands in Phoenix and always sounding tighter each time I see them.

Finally, we come to True Rivals who made the extra-long trip from California to play the Rally for Riley. They were awesome for both on stage performance and for pushing donations. Starting with the donations part, they put up signed drumsticks with cymbals and a signed bass for raffle. They made sure to keep pushing for more donations for those raffles midway through their set and after their set. It was amazing.

Second, they played one of the most energized sets of any band that night. If you want to talk about the best examples of moving around, they did it around the stage and Trevor once across the Yucca bar top. Plus, we had Tyler, of Rundown Roommates, not only join them to play guitar but did it for an entire song. They are his favorite band to watch and what got him to start a band. True Rivals got the entire crowd involved, and some on stage, for a cover of Rancid’s “Olympia WA.” I left that place still buzzing with energy from all of it. On top, the best part of it all, they raised nearly two thousand dollars to help Riley with his fight with cancer. This scene is amazing. If you read this and weren’t able to make it out to help, you can always head over to the Go Fund Me page set up for Riley and donate too.

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