The very first time I saw PEARS was in a Las Vegas backyard in 2015. That was near the beginning with their first album under their belts and Fat Wreck had just signed them. Since then, they have only gone up in trajectory in success, music writing and performances. That includes their self-titled 2020 release being their best to date. However, they never had a chance to tour on it until now. The great one two punch of the tour included Neighborhood Brats who unfortunately dropped due to continuing issues with cyberbullying. Regardless, for the Tempe date we had PEARS and a good three four punch with our local Blotter Vision and Baja Bones at Yucca Tap Room.
If the name Baja Bones sounds unfamiliar to you, that would be because this was their very first show. They are a newcomer to the Phoenix punk scene filled with a few familiar faces that have been around it. Right away you see a familiar Bill Aaron up on the microphone. With him there is Daniel Bradley looming large over on the bass, Mike Hoffman on the guitar, and Shelby James taking on drums.
The immediate standout was Mike’s guitar shredding which just was fantastic. It was pretty good for their first set and a little calmer of a tone than Bill will put forth in our second band of the night. It is going to be cool to watch Baja Bones grow into their own over the coming months.
Second on the night is a band that has improved and ironed out most of the kinks since the early beginnings I saw them, Blotter Vision. I keep just being more impressed with every time I catch them. We had a dress change for Bill, now adorned in an MTV shirt, sunglasses, and headband and it seemed to bring out a more mobile Bill with it.
In addition, we had a very animated band from Joey on guitar, Alfred on bass, and Drew behind the drum kit. This enthusiasm goes hand in hand with their music that is high energy and exciting. Alfred and Bill through the later part of the set performing down in and more engaging with the Yucca crowd. Blotter Vision is a band that if you aren’t watching, I highly recommend you try to check them out at their next show.
Then for the first time in Phoenix since 2018, it was time for PEARS return. If you’ve never seen the band, there is a charisma and personality lead by Zach Quinn. Off stage you may not suspect the calm singer to be so animated, but once he is on stage the music transforms him into a performance like few front men do. He will get in your face, he will crawl, carry the microphone by the cord in his mouth, use the stand as part of his movements, and just engage with everything he can.
Bringing the harmonies to the songs that are a blend of hardcore and thrash with traditional old school punk rock are the wonderful vocals of Brian, on guitar, and Erick, on bass. They may not move as much as Zach, but they are as happy and animated as him on that stage. That includes Jarret behind them you can catch usually with a smile here and there.
With this tour, the songs in the setlist most definitely included tracks off their wonderful new self-titled album like “Rich To Rags” and “Killing Me.” Additionally in the set they made time for old favorites from the past two albums like “Snowflake” and my biggest favorite, “Sycophant.”
There was a song where they brought up a guest drummer, Tanner, while Brian thanked him for the Slipknot mask he put on for the song. Even though just a change for one song, it became a running joke of Jarett no longer their drummer when an audience member asked Zach to introduce Jarett. It all added up to one of the best nights of music with PEARS in this early year.