That Small Venue Feel

Venues define the personality of a show. How much a venue defines that personality varies from place to place. For some of the midsize to larger, it can create a distant experience. In those spaces, it is up to a band’s performance to engage the crowd more. However, the smaller spaces bring the sense of energy closer to both the fans and the bands. From the moment it was announced that Guttermouth was playing the Yucca Tap Room, I was excited. That is a room that the performance style of the band just leads to a few of my favorite moments with them. In tow for the night was an excellent assortment of locals from No Composure to Playboy Manbaby.

First was No Composure, a band born out of Contradiktion. After our friend Billie Russell passed away, the remaining members, Jeremy Daniels, Meatbag, and Billy Stephens, of Contradiktion deliberated if it would be right to carry on without him. After some time passed, they made the decision to continue and do it under a name inspired by a Contradiktion song, “No Composure.”

While the roots of the band come from another, the songs are more originals. That’s not to say they don’t play a few of the classic. For this night, they closed the set on an old Contradiktion song. No Composure was just the start of killer performances this night.

Second on the night was a band that only brings up the energy in a room, but does it while telling us how they got lost in an Ikea. If unfamiliar, their first EP made it on my Best of 2018 Local EP list. Their sets are high energy and, in part, due to their lead vocalist Daniel. He will not only jump around on stage, but bring that to the crowd. So if the pit isn’t moving, he gets it moving, and if it is, he is just going to be a part of it. Rusty shares the lead vocal duty on a couple songs through the set.

At one point, setting down the guitar as he leans right into the performance. The man dubbed Mr. Neon by many, Sterling, once again brought out the black light to further accent his clothing choices on bass. He might just be the most stylish of the band. If you have not caught a Skeleton Army set yet, probably a good time to push it higher on your list of things to do.

Smack dab in the middle were the once Lake Havasu punk rockers and now Phoenix locals, TV Tragedy. Maus is another man of energy when given a microphone. Sure, he smiles between songs, but he gets serious and into that performance as he belts the lyrics through the Yucca Tap Room speakers. That energy continues whether performing or watching, as most sets you will find him in the circle pit.

Joey McMurdy, their latest addition earlier this year, continues to blend right in with the band dynamic. As much as I want to see Def Yeti return, I like his addition to TV Tragedy. With this set, the notch on the energy in the room went up once again.

Then Playboy Manbaby was the guys tasked with setting up Guttermouth. They certainly are the right personality to compliment that of Guttermouth. Robbie took the microphone and the crowd went off. This audience engaged with them from the first lyrics of “Chemical Reprieve” to the end.

Actually, in a rare thing for the support band, they actually got to do a one song encore because the crowd was so amped after. It wasn’t just the crowd, as TJ to Chris, these guys showed plenty of their own high enthusiasm. It is infectious and Playboy Manbaby is one of the happiest bunch I’ve seen on a stage these days.

Then the band I love to watch at the Yucca Tap Room, Guttermouth. Every time they play there, the smaller venue environment is the most ideal for Mark’s frenetic performance style. However, it was a calmer Mark compared to previous occasions. That’s not to say funny stuff didn’t happen including their order of fries during the set. Mark fed members of the band as they were already into their performance.

Jokes were going back and forth between Mark and Matt the most. Justin, Taylor and AJ full of smiles and laughter from the performance’s interactions and Mark’s on stage remarks. The set was made up of plenty of bouncing around songs including a favorite of mine, “1,2,3 Slam!” The night did not disappoint and Guttermouth delivered another memorable visit to the Yucca Tap Room.

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