Basement shows are a staple of music in various cities around the country. However, here in Phoenix, we have about two venues that count as basements. The first is a more recent one, the Valley Bar, and the second one is the Nile Underground, with a bit of age and history to it. One downside of a basement in a historic building is the ventilation and air conditioning doesn’t usually make it all the way down. For the music fans in Phoenix and a couple bands, this ends up a concession made to be able to catch excellent music in the form of a basement show. With PEARS and HiGH in town, this was an easy concession made for me in a warm May.
Opening up is a band I don’t think gets the attention it deserves, Robot (re)Pair. Since I have met Matt and Yami, they have been in Robot (re)Pair. Yet, is clear their punk heritage goes further back based on the style they play and the people they know.
Add in Harry, who is probably the most consistent bass player for the band I’ve seen, and you have an excellent local punk act. Even expressing on stage they hadn’t practiced, they put together a solid opening set to the night. If you see Robot re(Pair) on a bill, then it probably is a show you should be catching.
Then the first of our touring bands, HiGH, took the warm venue’s stage. They were the most melodic band of the night, between the vocal harmonies and the tunes they performed. They remind me a little of the recent Propaghandi tracks. Like them, they bring a sense of humor to the in between of songs.
In addition, Craig and Isidore do a little alternating of lead vocals from song to song to change the dynamic a little further. I say if you either are in their hometown of New Orleans or they happen to play near you, go check out HiGH for your punk fix.
Eye Rake, a newer local band made up of a few of our punk veterans, followed them up. A couple of their members you may recognize out of Broloaf, either performing with or a part of their hilarious skits. This band brings out one of their favorite styles of punk rock, hardcore. Their sound is a fast pace that gets a crowd moving.
With that, you get a blunt Ben Barnes leading on vocals to a few politically charged songs. One they skip an entire World War to talk about the one after. Eye Rake may be newer to our punk scene, but they know how to write tracks and put out a set I find hard not to love.
PEARS then came on to close out the night. This is a band I discovered at a backyard barbeque while in Las Vegas for Punk Rock Bowling 2015. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir when I say they are fantastic. I’ve noticed the fervor around them has grown in the time I have known them. Well deserving of it too, as they put forth a character filled and enthusiasm inspired performance from every member. That isn’t even going into detail about how into the performance Zach, lead vocals, gets into it. You find him crawling around, biting onto the microphone stand, and just getting intense while singing the lyrics.
Their music lends itself to this too, as it is a blend of the hardcore punk with melodies mixed right in with it. This night was a chance to catch them perform a couple new songs, including “Hey There, Begonia” off their split with Direct Hit. Another of the night’s delight being their cover of Green Day’s “Basketcase.” Isidore, of HiGH, jumped back on stage to participate in the singing too. I’m always going to recommend you check out PEARS. They are one of the more unique sounds in punk and they do a fantastic job at it. This entire show made for a superb night of music in a warm Nile Basement.