There are artists that just invoke positivity. Not only in their performance, but in their day to day interactions and fans they inspire. You find the crowds in front of them are as supporting and happy as the artist they came to watch. Jeff Rosenstock is that kind of musician, regardless of the negative reflection of the world, albeit true, in his lyrics themselves. So throw in vaccination only requirements, to make people feel safe coming out, and the band themselves bringing Slaughter Beach, Dog and Oceanator with them to build the formula to have me dashing out to catch this one.
Oceanator was the band opening this whole thing up. I found them, and caught them pretty frequently, through the pandemic quarantine on various livestreams. One big difference from those streams was that they were usually Elise, lead vocals and guitar, going solo and this night we had the pleasure of the full band. The chemistry of these bandmates was obvious throughout their performance too.
There was a lot of smiling glances between Elise and her bandmates Tony, on bass, and Andrew, on drums. There was a lot of playful fun going on up there. It was cool to watch the indie rock sounds playout in front of my eyes and ears for the first time. With the band matching the sounds of the wonderful release of Things I Never Said that came out while we were all at a standstill on live shows in 2020. This left me excited for the night and for future visits Oceanator may have to Phoenix down the road.
In the middle was a band I thought I was unfamiliar with, Slaughter Beach, Dog, but would learn that was only half true through conversations with my neighbors in the crowd. What I didn’t know was this band is Jake Ewald’s once side project while Modern Baseball was active and includes Ian Farmer from that band too. Additionally, I learned the comma in the name did not mean a band called Slaughter Beach and a band called Dog.
While their other band and this do have similarities, this band is a mellower and calmer jam when compared to the latter. With them for this newer project there is Zack Robbins on the drums and Adam Meisterhands on the second, and somewhat stylish, guitar. The set put on display the comradery of everyone on the tour too, from Elise, of Oceanator, back out for a little additional percussion and later Jeff Rosenstock adding saxophone to the final song of the set. Slaughter Beach, Dog a stylish and awesome band smack dab in the middle of this night.
Last would be the band that got the sold out and masked up crowd bouncing, Jeff Rosenstock. This wasn’t my first time catching the band, as I have made every effort to catch him since first finding his music. However, like everyone in that room it was the first time not watching him through a monitor or phone screen in over two years. The energy was bound to be pent up and waiting for that release of singing along, bouncing everywhere to each and every song they played
. Caught up in the excitement, Jeff played a song early meant for the end and joked that no one would mind if they played it again later. From John DeDomenici, bass, to Dan Potthast, keys and guitar, to Kevin Higuchi behind the kit, that stage was as bouncy as the crowd in front of them. There is this electricity to the air of a Jeff Rosenstock performance that writing about it still brings out the goosebumps of excitement.
The over an hour set included songs from across his albums of 2020 Dump, Post-, and the most recent No Dream. If unfamiliar with Jeff Rosenstock’s music, I characterize it as what happens if you mixed punk rock, ska and indie rock together for what I usually just refer to as “Indie Punk.” Think along the line of bands like PUP or Pkew Pkew Pkew.
Again, like during Slaughter Beach, Dog, on full display this was a tour of friends, new and old acquaintances coming together for music. There was Elise and Jake sharing a microphone and Adam with his guitar out for the final songs of the encore. It just feels like one happy family across all three bands. This Jeff Rosenstock stop in Phoenix saved the best for last when it comes to my favorite show I attended in 2021.