Music is one of the biggest joys in life. It takes us on journeys about personal lives to where the societal changes need to happen. It goes down the roads of humor, but sometimes serious and direct. In the world these days, the bands that bring that positive joy are what we need most. I Fight Dragons fits that bill with music and motivating lyrics while an engaging on stage presence from all five members. Bolstering this bill was Acne Superstar and Badger Springs from right here in Phoenix.
Up first was, Badger Springs, a band I had not yet seen before this night. This three piece released their first EP during the beginning of the year and teased the release of a full album early 2022. Their sound reminds me a bit of the guitar riffs and sounds of our local Twin Ponies and Celebration Guns.
I really enjoyed their enthusiasm on stage during and between songs. The only thing that was a little bummer was their set being about twenty to twenty five minutes. I assume that was just a content thing, as they are a new band and in the process of finishing those new songs for the upcoming album. Their set puts Badger Springs right on my radar and excited to hear what they bring next.
Right in the middle was one of my favorite locals to catch, Acne Superstar. It has only been a few weeks since I was watching them on this very stage for their album release. Tonight a little more casual an affair with less dress suits. I’d assume a bit more comfortable to play in, though if they wanted to take a Mighty Mighty Bosstones route going forward it would work too.
Once again, I can’t remark more about how they are just having fun up there. You see Nav dancing between times he has to hit the microphone for lyrics. You see Jack with a swagger and a grin a lot. Jake is just smiles that seem to be channeled into the drumming. Ryan was more smiles and moves this night over on bass. The set hit on songs from the new album, but not as strictly in order like last time. Acne Superstar continues to impress and be such an exciting band to watch.
Last was I Fight Dragons, our headliners of the night. This marks the first I’m catching them since I first watched them on Warped Tour 2014. The Phoenix heat didn’t deter them from color coordinating clothes and exciting those whose ears they caught. They are a band that first popped on my radar from the song “The Geeks Will Inherit the Earth” off their album KABOOM! From that point I’ve been a fan grabbing their albums since. That includes supporting I Fight Dragon’s new album efforts through their Patreon for a couple years too. Additionally, you might know them from the theme song of ABC’s The Goldbergs. I think the closest distinction for their type of music is pop punk, but they integrate chiptune and synth sounds over their instruments and into their music that gives them a more unique sound. It totally appeals to the video game soundtrack fan in me.
This night’s set was a blast, to say the least. They are an exciting and positive element on that stage. They were encouraging taking as many photos as possible and posting them online to all in attendance. They sing songs that motivate and tell relatable stories through their music. Cool moments included Packy pulling out his Muppet Babies little keyboard and Brian doing singing over the Game Boy producing chiptunes.
The songs this set hit a lot of newer stuff like “The Devil You Know” and “She’s Got Sorcery,” which is rad because it’s been a bit since last I saw them live. They hit on Jonathan Coulton with a wonderful cover of “The Future Soon” that is, so far, the closest I’ve got to see any JoCo live. Oh, and yes, the encore would end up that first song I heard of theirs “The Geeks Will Inherit the Earth.” It brought a smile watching I Fight Dragons and hope the time between their visits will be less until next time we see them.