The night was like any other in Phoenix, Arizona. Ask any local and they’ll tell you it’s too hot. The line to get into The Van Buren went by fast, no one wanted to stand out in that heat. That night was about to be an interesting night for the books for sure. Pop punk and punk were about to cross path was the macabre murder folk.
The first band to hit the stage was Pet Needs. The second they hit the stage; the singer was bouncing all over the stage. The energy they brought to kick the show off was off the charts. As the songs ended the singer would engage with the audience. The best thing was the stories.
Hailing all the way from Essex, England, they mentioned how people when visiting get very excited about public transportation and seeing the double decker busses. “I’ve always been confused about it because basically its people getting excited about public transport. Phoenix, I found this confusing until I landed in America.
We landed in the airport, we drove out of the airport, then our drummer, Jack, with more excitement in his eyes than I’ve ever seen, to the point we thought something was wrong said ‘BOYS, BOYS, LOOK’. We panicked; we were like ‘wait what what?!’. ‘There’s a yellow school bus like on the Simpsons’ [jack said].” He continued saying how awesome it was and that they were high fiving each other. Then he goes on to tell the audience how they are going to play the first song they ever wrote called “Punk Isn’t dead, It’s Just Up For Sale”. They continued on their high energy set, keeping the audience entertained and enthralled as they waited for the head liner.
The second band to hit the stage was The Bronx. The Bronx originated from Los Angeles, California in 2002. What else makes this band unique is that not only are they a punk band but they have also release mariachi music under the name Mariachi El Bronx. Their current like up is Matt Caughthran- vocals, Joby J. Ford- guitarist, Ken Horne- guitarist, Brad Magers-bass, and Joey Castillo-drums. Their energy matched Pet Needs perfectly. It was a seamless transition to keep the audience engaged. Caughthran did acknowledge the audience but no stories were told. They were able to get the audience to sing along and at the end of their set for the last song Caughthran did something special. He took the mike and joined the audience in the pit! The audience soaked that up like a sponge soaking up water.
It was time for the third artist of the night, the long-awaited macabre artist, and a fan favorite, Amigo the Devil. Amigo the Devil is a one-man band consisting of Danny Kiranos and his guitar or banjo. He was popular but gained real notoriety in 2018 with the release of his album Volume 1. As he came on stage it was just to tune his guitar and then he says “I guess were starting. I wasn’t r4eady but it would be weird to just walk off the stage”. The audience laughed and cheered. He opened up his set with “If I’m Crazy”, the audience who knew the words sang along to every word, even the photographers in the pit were singing along. After his first two songs he started throwing bags of snacks to the audience, then he paused to tell a story. “Over the quiet time, what I call the pandemic and shit. My attention span went to hell, worse than it already was. And I was like you know what would be really cool is if I just write really fucking short songs. Cuz I get sit down come up with an idea and then I’m done. Success” (in a very high-pitched voice). “This is one of those; this song goes out to the dude in the uber yesterday who clearly hotboxed the car on the way to pick us up and it wasn’t weed.
‘When the edibles hit
and I blasted into space
with stupid on my face
I called my mom to tell her shed be proud
then a long pause went by that disappointed sigh
she asked me what the hell I was talking about
all I could say I told you id be an astronaut someday.’”
The audience laughed and loved his little sonnet. He continued his set and then played “Cain and Able” After that he talked to the audience that he wanted to sing his song like a wrestler and he demonstrated that. After that he played “Jonestown” and asked the audience to help his sing the lyrics. Even people who had never listened to him joined in. He then played “I Hope your husband Dies”. He gave so9me back story that he wrote it about a girl that is still his best friend this day. She had started dating someone, he sent her the song and she told him that was stupid. She ended up marrying the man and a few months later he had died. She messaged Danny and let him know and he said “I didn’t know what the fuck to say so I sent her the song and she replied ‘from you I expect nothing less’. So that’s the story, back to the songs”. He then thanked Frank Turner and the rest of the bands that played, he played “Perfect Wife”. He ended his set with “Hell and You”, one of his most popular songs. Kiranos is such a diverse and entertaining artist that he brought the crowd together, even those who never listened to murder folk. After the set everyone was buzzing with how amazing he was and how his stage presence is captivating.
The final artist was Frank Turner, hailing from England. Frank Turner came onto the stage, the lights were dim and he started out slow. Then all of a sudden, the rest of the band came out and they hit the stage hard, the lights were flashing, the crowd was screaming. Their energy exponentially matched Pet Needs and the rest of the bands that performed that night. He is primarily a solo artist but has a background touring band that is made up by Ben Lloyd -guitar/mandolin, Tarrant Anderson-bass, Matt Nasir-piano/mandolin and Callum Green-drums; they are called The Sleeping Souls. They opened up with their song “Four Simple Words (stop)”. Turner was jumping around the stage singing and moving all about, the audience ate it up! Turner ended up playing 24 songs! One of the longest sets we have seen! Everyone loved how long it was, they were soaking up every word he sang and every note they played. The audience moshed, jumped, danced and sang all night. This show was truly spectacular showing how punk and darker genres of music could come together; bringing the audience together and uniting everyone. Turner ended their set with “Still Believe”.