Jason Devore, Skky Brown, The Insects and Crusher Sound System at New Times Soundcheck, 2/11/12
Following Eye of Fire, hardcore punk outfit Inept Hero ratcheted up the tempo with some double-hitting bass kicks and snapping snares. Vocalist Aarin Lugar controlled his vox, harmonizing and growling when he saw fit. Authority Zero's Jason Devore made his first stage appearance of the night, joining the quartet for a tune. The quickened pace had kids thrusting their fists into the air, as they had to resist the strong urge to mosh. Club Red frequently reminds patrons that there is zero-tolerance for that sort of agro-behavior in their establishment.
During their set, Mouse Powell displayed his steady rhythmic cadence with a heavy dose of his breakout debut album, Where It's Cloudy. Powell laid into his verses as he slowly loosened up, pointing at and engaging the crowd while ILL AL backed him on stage.
Luckily, The Insects fit in right between Inept Hero's and Skky Brown's slots as they were arguably one of the best acts of the night. Emcee Brad B and DJ Dumperfoo owned the nearly 30-minutes they played with rapid-fire rhymes and phat bass beats. Accompanied by a "visual orchestra," two artists painted stunning images on canvas over Brad's spastic rapping. The set played like dance jams with a hip-hop flare.
Shortly after 11 p.m., the very animated Skky Brown gave a soulful and funky showing with the help of musicians provided by Soul Sound Productions to eventually win over the main stage crowd that seemed interested in hearing only Jason Devore. Most of the crowd stood at the back of the club and barely ventured towards the front of the stage for the majority of the night. Brown didn't seem bothered as he wailed, grunted and beckoned to concertgoers. Fans continued to keep their distance, but eventually started clapping and hollering before his set was done.
Crusher Sound System and Def Star wrapped up things on the second stage, while Jason Devore took care of business on the main stage.
With turntablist Pickster One bumping classic hip-hop tracks and drummer Scottie Does matching him beat for beat, Crusher turned the floor into a dance club. Def Star duo closed things out on a chill level using synths and robotic voice treatments.
Devore proved to be the consummate professional, taking the stage promptly at 12:30 a.m. "I flew in from Philly six-hours ago, so if it looks like I haven't slept it's because I haven't," Devore says. Jet lag didn't show as he picked up his acoustic guitar and belted out "Call Out" to start. With easy up and down strokes, Devore was accompanied by Sugar Thieves drummer David Libman who provided percussion on a wooden throne he beat with his hands. He was supposed to fly out at 7:30 this morning, but as he got deeper into his setlist, the more unlikely it looked like he was going to make the flight.
As concertgoers finally crowded the stage, Devore was gracious to everyone who stuck it out to see him and lauded the local music scene.
"You have to support it," he says. "You never know what's going to come out of it."
Last Night: Phoenix New Times Soundcheck at Club Red with Rob Randolph, Joshua Micheal, Eye of Fire, Inept Hero, Skky Brown, Jason Devore, True Publiq, Span Phly, Everyday Affiliates, Writer's Guild, Mouse Powell, The Insects, Crusher Sound System, Def Star.
The crowd: A genre-blurring concoction of rock and roll heads mixed with flat-billed backwards baseball caps.
Better with: Two whiskey-waters and a couple of Rolling Rocks before 9 p.m.
Tattoos of the night: The Oakland Raiders logo and of course a tribal arm band.