All Hail Our New Imperial Overlords

Album release shows bring with them bigger crowds and higher energy. They tend to inspire creativity and more showmanship from the bands. One band that tends to not only go with the bigger room, but it brings out the best of their creativity is Playboy Manbaby. Leading up to this night, we had political ads and signage for the band lobbying to become Imperial Overlords. With that, we had a broader musical spectrum of a few of Phoenix’s finest musicians leading into their album release set.

Opening up were the always fantastic Instructions. These guys the first of the wide breadth of genre, leaning more toward the alternative rock sounds of a Jimmy Eat World if they intermingled with the local Twin Ponies. That fact makes Jordan, from Twin Ponies, was filling in only makes the band comparison for applicable.

They are little more subdued, but still bring out enthusiasm and animated performances throughout their performance. They made for one of the more refined sounds of the night making watching Instructions open a pleasure.

What followed was my first time catching Pro Teens. Unfortunately, it was for about half of their set as I would be conducting my still to be transcribed interview with Playboy Manbaby. However, what I did catch I enjoyed. It took surf rock and merged it with an indie rock.

That combination brought out probably the mellowest music of the night. There were excellent vocals out of this band to accompany those sounds. It put me in a calming zone that I hope to experience again with Pro Teens.

Then smack dab in the middle we jump into one of my favorite hip hop and Nerdcore artists, Mega Ran. One of the best attributes of his performances was in full effect tonight. He has the ability to get audiences involved and into moving to his songs. Heck, he even got everyone to sit down like story time in the Trunk Space’s Hope Hall.

Teek Hall, the reigning Phoenix New Times best Hip Hop artist, is becoming a regular staple during Mega Ran’s sets here in Phoenix. When on stage, the duo always performs one of their wrestling tracks. Mega Ran closed it out with one of his most requested tracks, “Splash Woman” and his version of the wave. It was very heartening to see a crowd out for more of the punk rock embrace Mega Ran this night.

Doll Skin was next out to setup the crowd for the Playboy Manbaby. They actually pointed out that their first show, outside of the battle of the bands, was with Playboy Manbaby. Their set was delightful. Full of the character and excitement they bring to a stage. You can tell by watching the crowd they are just as excited to play it as their fans are to hear it.

Another great thing is that in my times catching them, they tend to change up their setlist so I’m always hearing a mix of a few songs they love to play and a few I haven’t heard the prior two times. Doll Skin was exactly the band needed to keep the enthusiasm ramping up for Playboy Manbaby.

Starting with Ryan Avery reading Playboy Manbaby’s acceptance speech for Imperial Overload, the set started off with their patented humor. The entire band came out adorned with beards similar to what we found on those political signs and buttons they made leading up to the show. They played through the tracks of their fantastic new album as the crowd went nuts. Crushing and moshing, crowd surfing and dancing bodies were all near the stage. Just another example of how their fan base is a showcase of the most excited concentration of people I see at shows.

Of course, once the album stuff was out of the way they deviated onto fan favorites such as “You Can Be a Fascist Too.” Their encore included another favorite, “Cadillac.” In terms of album release shows, there is something about the electricity in the air for a Playboy Manbaby show that puts them above most.

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