A Fund-Rager

What do you think of when you think of Cinco de Mayo? You’re saying Punk Rock, obviously. Oh wait, you mean Mexico celebrating a victory over a French army when things looked dire. Actually, I’m sure it is actually more of the alcoholic variety in most people’s thoughts. Tonight was an example of a group of great musicians and artists that came together to help Punk Forefront produce our zine. Another example in the past week and a half of how fantastic the music scene and beyond is.

Opening up was the high speed, moving around the stage antics of Rundown Roommates. They’ve been aggressively getting their name out there in the scene in the past couple months. Tyler donned a sombrero to start reminding us the day the show was on. Now it is a regular occurrence to see the full band in effect too. They’re making it really easy to catch a Rundown Roommates show, so be sure to just show up to one of their shows coming up.

Following them up was the dude, which made me laugh the moment I saw what was on his face, and his band Alex Squared. While I can point out the drawn on mustache all I want, I want to point you in the direction of the image gallery to see his socks and shoes. They certainly seem to back up some of the on stage humor and clowning around. That’s just part of the charm of Alex Squared. Plus in what seems regular tradition, they invite Billie, of Contradiktion, up to sing lead vocals with them. These guys make up an excellent band that more people need to check out.

From here I started bouncing around a little, with our acoustic side lead off with Andy Warpigs. He wore his pink pig hat for the entire set too. With that came some of the humor I enjoy, about how charming it is to be pulled over by a cop wearing a pig hat. There’s a reason we brought Andy Warpigs on this, and he delivered on another entertaining set of music.

Right from Andy, we jumped into Contradiktion. This was the first time catching the band with Billy, of Vices to the Grave, now drumming. If not for the different spellings, we could adopt Billy’s recommendation of Billie Squared for the band name. It was the fast paced, sometimes reminding me of Billy Joe Armstrong, set of music I enjoy from Contradiktion. Plus, they incorporated Creepy Don up there for a song. In addition, they ended the set with both Meatbag and Alex, of Alex Squared, joining them in what seems to be the other show tradition for the two bands. It is obvious there is a comradery here across bands during the set. The entire package was enthralling.

Next up was our second acoustic act of the night, Rico Caldera, of LightSpeedGo. It was a mix of his tracks and an Alkaline Trio song. Hearing how songs adapt to acoustic is a good testament too to the depth of the song. Rico did a great job up there, entertaining with some jokes between too.

Jumping back to the stage side we found ourselves with one of the most political bands of the scene, Reason Unknown. Also, they are one of the most expressive up there from Travis to Pat to Scott. Speaking of Scott, it is unfortunately one of the last shows he is going to be playing with the band. They lose him next month as he moves out of state. I’m still advocating we find a way to tie him down to Phoenix, but if he must go, I do wish him the best where life’s adventures lead him. I love watching Reason Unknown.

Finally we come to our last acoustic act of the night, Gaby Kaos from the Venomous Pinks. I’ve probably only caught her play acoustic once or twice so far, so this was a treat. I did enjoy how she poked fun at Rico for taking Alkaline Trio from her list of covers to play. No matter, it was a fun little set from Gaby soloing it.

Second to last on the main stage was the loudest and potentially most energy to burn band of our scene, Skull Drug. One of my favorites in the valley, and I would say that anyone putting together a list of top ten Phoenix punk bands would have screwed up if Skull Drug isn’t on it. They bring energy, they bring expression, and they bring a bit of playing on their knees and the ground. Skull Drug is one of the best all-around punk sets you can catch.

Last up was our awesome headliners, The Bombpops. As they informed us, it being the first day of their tour we were the tone setters. They brought the energy while playing a lot of the stuff from the new album. The pit kept moving from Skull Drugs set, and at one point Poly jumped down from the stage into it. They were gracious enough to not only sign the guitar for the raffle, but award it and Punk Rock Bowling tickets, midway through the set. They closed on FOMO, but gave us one more as the crowd was still riding high. Jen said they hadn’t played it in a little while, but it seemed once it got going it was just as solid as the rest. Overall, it was an excellent set from the Bombpops and a fantastic night from everyone coming together. Punk Forefront did hit the goal to make that Zine. So stay tuned for something in print in the coming months.

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