There are lineups you just look at and can tell will be amazing. A couple bands on the bill stand out and above a lot of their respective genre. In the case of this night at the Crescent Ballroom, it was just that. The tour paired the talented musicians of both Red City Radio and Lawrence Arms, alongside the fantastic discovery for me in Sincere Engineer opening it up.
Sincere Engineer is the one person, acoustic act of Deanna. From the beginning she was entertained not just by performing these amusing songs she has written, but by interactions with the audience. It was a continued exchange of praise and sarcasm back and forth. Similar sentiments and themes are echoed in the lyrics of her music. They are witty and cover down to earth subjects. Her personality and performance style reminded me a little bit of Jeff Rosenstock.
The set had a cool moment where we found Chris McCaughan, of Lawrence Arms, joining Deanna on stage for a song. This was a set that got ensured I had a Sincere Engineer album in my library going forward.
Following her is one of the best bands performing right now, Red City Radio. Riding the excellent new EP, “Sky Tigers,” this set incorporated those tracks along with songs those who have followed them the past couple years know. I find some of the best melodic songs I’ve heard come from these guys. Of course, with that more melodic sound some argue that they drifted a little away from punk and settled more into the general rock genre. Whatever it is, it is full of energy and one of my favorite sounds being played in music venues right now.
The other thing is these guys have personality up there. One notable remark from Garrett was pointing out how while they love the Yucca, they moved on up to be playing a ballroom this time. If Red City Radio hasn’t found their way onto your radar yet, this is as good a time as ever to make it happen.
Then it was the guys who I don’t see visit Phoenix too often, but play one hell of a set, the Lawrence Arms. They are the band who has cornered that melodic punk rock sound, fine tuning it and producing a part of the best out there. With the latest release being a best of compilation, it was the perfect excuse to get favorite songs from across their catalog performed that night. They played one hell of a set.
Of course, you get a few of punk rock’s favorite personalities too. Though Brendon Kelly seemed tamer this night compared to prior times I’ve watched the band. He did incorporate a few remarks of sarcasm regardless. On that note, if you’re not following him on Twitter, that is recommended by me. Overall it was an enjoyable and well done performance on the stage. Lawrence Arms capped off a night of three amazing bands and musicians that I was overjoyed to get to watch.