Concerts Photo Gallery 

Jer Puts the Leap in Leap Day

A leap day only occurs once every four years. That would make it perhaps the most special day of the year. So, it is only appropriate that on this kind of special day we would have Jer making a tour stop at the Trunk Space. Joining them for this tour was Chicago favorites of mine, Devon Kay and the Solutions, and Suzie True, from the state next door. Not to mention, they called in the perfect local companion band, Spicy Mayo, to open it all up.

If you want the physical incarnation of charisma to begin your show, then Spicy Mayo is who you call. It is that combination of rawness and bluntness to lyrics that makes them one of the best local artists for it. This night it was on full display channeled through their combination of punk rock, hip hop and brass band. Dallas, lead vocalist, not only invokes this when singing the lyrics, but between songs explaining a song’s context or just a random anecdote related.

New for me with Spicy Mayo was seeing their new drummer, Miles Tippett. New in that I’ve been mostly sidelined due to long Covid since he has joined them, so this was my first opportunity to see how he fit in. I did not know Miles could drum before this, as most often had seen him fronting a string instrument in other projects. If there was any roughness to it, I could not tell. More impressive is he has the drum parts down for a band that has one of the more unique sounds. This entire package of Spicy Mayo made for an exciting way to open this magical night.

Following that was the first of the touring acts and a band I had been looking forward to seeing live for over a year, Suzie True. While long Covid has made outings harder for me for nearly twenty months, this L.A. femme four piece was an organic find. It was through the shares of artists I follow singing their praises on social media. Throwing them on a tour with two other artists I was aiming to push through for was a complete blessing.

The first thing I just must point out is how awesome that butterfly bass was that Lexi, lead singer and bassist, played on stage. Second, I have got to highlight how they exude energy and excitement performing. Which, this will be a running theme of every artist on this show. The addition of pom poms, complimenting their cheerleader outfits, gave a more visually explosive flair on stage. Their songs meld together punk rock, modern indie rock and the distortion sounds of garage rock for superb combination to the ears. I had a blast watching them finally. If you haven’t given Suzie True a look yet, let this be your time to go grab their album on Bandcamp, at minimum.

Then it was time for Devon Kay and the Solutions, a band that I call all friends and just love every piece of music they have released over the years. If one word was used to describe this band, it is personality. They are bursting with it across that stage. It makes them the perfect complement to our headliner to come, Jer. Devon, Ian, and Jacob found their ways into various places of the Trunk Space throughout the set. The only reason the rest didn’t move was their instruments were more a tether, but that didn’t prevent anyone from dancing and moving on that stage. There were smiles, tongues sticking out, and plenty of emoting from Joram, Castle, and Jake, nonetheless.

At this point, you are probably wondering what kind of music would invoke such an exciting band? That would be what I call indie punk rock, but with a brass section. Yes, that brass means they do play a few ska punk tunes of their own writing from their Fine: A Ska EP. The set, like their first visit, began with the anthem to Devon Kay’s Twitch channel before being an even split of songs off that ska EP and their punk albums.

I found myself singing along multiple times throughout this set. Between great values, as Devon championed women’s choice and trans rights later in the set, and great music, there should be no one sleeping on Devon Kay and the Solutions after this night.

Finally, it came time for Jer. You might know them by another name, from their popular ska cover YouTube channel, Skatune Network. You may also know them as a member of We Are the Union. However, while this sellout crowd says otherwise, you may not have known that Jer has an entire album of original, and politically charged, ska songs called Bothered/Unbothered. In addition to that, they have released other original singles over the past few years and contributed on tracks with others, including Eichlers and Mega Ran. In their own music and writing, they invoke the ska genre’s many sounds from over the decades blending it with hip hop and emo.

This trip to Phoenix marks their first visit with such a fantastic backing band assembled. This includes Jer’s We Are the Union bandmates, Reade and Emily, on backing guitar and saxophone. The man of many bands at this point, but I know him for his amazing keyboard work in Matamoska, Esteban. Two members of another favorite of mine, Half Past Two, with Savannah on drums and Eric on bass. Plus, there was Javi of just Javi, as Jer introduced, over on the trombone. It was a sight to see all this talent performing together.

Of course, with political songs, comes political remarks through the set. Jer made it a point to talk about there is no need for the genocide in the Middle East and for a free Palestine. There was reminding people not to generalize the entire state of Florida, their home state, because of the hateful and horrible actions of DeSantis. That many good people live in that state who actively oppose and are pushing against those views. A point I can relate to growing up in Arizona, being lumped into the views of countless horrible governors and congressmen that have represented this state for decades.

They hit on taking a stand against the aging musicians pushing conspiracy and misinformation, like Dicky Barrett aligning with RFJ Jr on antivax and antisemitism views. That it is a shame that spewing this is not a deal breaker for some bands who continue to share a stage with them. As someone dealing with the effects of long symptoms from Covid, I cannot stress enough how much this point hit home for me. The consequences of artists giving people, like Dicky, a platform to spread this kind of information only makes things worse for everyone.

As for the the music performance of it, there is nothing quite like the energy Jer expels during a set. Jer is skanking, jumping, and just leaning into the Trunk Space audience for most of the set. Hell, I can go further by adding playing trombone and skanking in the pit to that list, too. It is one of the best performances of any artist I have seen live. The band assembled is a perfect match for that charisma and plain joy, occasionally finding Emily and Javi jumping into the packed Trunk Space crowd. Which, as with a lot of my favorite artists, a band that is having fun performing is always infectious on an audience. That crowd was constantly moving, dancing, and singing the lyrics back at Jer. It was a reciprocal cycle of energy across the entire Trunk Space. If this is the last time we see Jer in Phoenix for a little bit, it was a performance that will not be forgotten for a long time.

Liked it? Take a second to support Every Show Joe on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Related posts