Celebrating Celebration Guns

Not everything I go to sits in the punk rock and ska genres. Through my first years with a driver’s license, I listened to our local Edge 106.3, and later 103.9, station playing alternative rock. In part that was because the Ska Punk Show was only on Sundays. This has continued with the local airwaves from KWSS and Alt AZ. With that said, one of my favorite alternative and local bands, Celebration Guns, has a brand new album. For the occasion they put together the awesome line up of Captain Squeegee, Bear Ghost, and Instructions to commemorate the occasion.

Instructions opened up the show. They are a band I don’t catch as often as I should. This band includes members you may recognize for other local bands including Captain Squeegee and Playboy Manbaby. One big difference is TJ’s fantastic vocals showcased on lead here. However, all the members of the band end up singing throughout the course of the set.

This night it was a five piece, including keyboard, creating a great additional music layer. As for their musical sound, I would describe them as an indie rock meets rock ‘n roll sound. These guys are somehow one of the best under the radar bands around Phoenix. I highly suggest you go check out Instructions when you see them on another bill.

What followed them is band nowhere near under the radar, Bear Ghost. These highly animated, all over the stage guys just rocked another set. They certainly got the most dancers of audience members this night. In addition, they tend to have the most dancing band members too. Part of the reason I always like to compare them to the Aquabats.

It has been awesome seeing Andrew regularly performing with the band the past couple shows. With that, it brings the added benefit of his fantastic cover of “Prince Ali” from Aladdin.  Of course, you have heard me gush regularly about Bear Ghost. This set was no different on how superb they were.

Then Captain Squeegee, one of my longest, local favorites took the stage to be one hell of a setup act. These guys have a flair for a stage presence. For one, they express themselves and enjoyment frequently while performing. There are smiles from Austen to Chris around that stage.

Of course, it helps with the charismatic front man of Danny leading the charge and the vocals. There is no shortage of being entertained with their brand of what I say leans experimental jazz music. I love catching a Captain Squeegee anytime.

Finally it was the guys with the brand new album, Celebration Guns. First, let me say the album is excellent. I love the music they produce. It is atmospheric with this fantastic guitar melody through most of it. This is from the get go on the first track “(Probably) Worth It” to the end on “Pangaea.”

Furthering the atmospheric sounds they incorporate an expanded mix of instruments throughout, from a mandolin to melodica. The overall sound I group into the indie rock and alternative genres, although you can hear influences from punk to jazz in the tracks. A couple favorites off of it are “(Probably) Worth It,” “Move On,” and “Great Again.”

The set lived up to the quality of the album. Celebration Guns may have had the most enthusiastic members of the crowd. There were certainly a few that were dancing up a storm closest to the stage. For this set, they brought forth a fifth member on bells and horn. The set was the full album and their catalog of music. It was a release I was not going to miss, Celebration Guns delivered on an excellent night of music.

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