The Allure Of the Small Venue

There is a special feeling to watching bands in a smaller venue. That special feeling grows larger when it ends up a band that has been performing punk rock for the last three decades. In this case, it was my second time capturing that feeling of watching TSOL at the Yucca Tap Room. This night they were accompanied by two spotlights of the Phoenix punk bands, Heavy Breather and the Venomous Pinks.

Opening up is a band I haven’t had a chance to tell you about on this site, Heavy Breather. They are one of my favorites in terms of the performances they put on. The first time I saw them, their lead vocalist had a cinder block on a chain that was to be broken over his groin. Each show has kept up that ramped up entertainment style, a later set involved Elmer’s glue and glitter.

This night mixed a staple gun to the face and pouring glitter. A perfect complement to these acts is their hardcore punk rock sound. Members of the band are just as intense in their on stage gestures and backup vocals. Let this be my recommendation to go check out Heavy Breather when you get the chance.

Smack dab in the middle were the Venomous Pinks. These girls were certainly the ones to really get that pit moving. Miranda is making her mark since going full time. She looks comfortable up there with the rest moving around, leaning on, and just getting into shredding that guitar. Drea with the powerful vocals only adds to the strength of the performance.

Of course, there is a new tradition to their shows when they perform “Pizza Slice.” The crowd now participates by putting their hands up in their own pizza slice shape.  By the way, the Pinks just released the music video for the song if you want to see how that looks. You may spot me in it too. It was a excellent set from the Venomous Pinks leading into one of the best punk bands around.

That band, of course, being TSOL. With any of their performances, half the fun is just hearing the shit that Jack is going to say between songs. He is unabashedly engaging in responding to comments shouted from the crowd. One heckler consistently telling him to just play song ended with him pointing out how it is time to let the band tune. However, by the third time he had the band just play a jumble of sound to demonstrate what the break would be like if we just listened to them tune.

The other half of what makes a TSOL set so wonderful is the awesome punk songs they have from their deep catalog which included fan favorite “Code Blue.” I think I’ve been spoiled, as usually Chip Hanna drums when they come to Phoenix, but the one taking over was no slouch. He actually was more than on top of it that one point when Jack had to slow him down from starting the next song. It was one of those fantastic nights of punk rock  at the Yucca Tap Room capped by a legend in the business, TSOL.

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