PHX FMLY FEST - Downtown Phoenix - 12/27/13
For anyone who has ever made the claim that Phoenix has no music scene, I direct you to Robbie Pfeffer, Gage Olesen, and Rubber Brother Records. Since June, the partners have been running their successful cassette tape label and providing Phoenix with some of the most eclectic, community-based, do-it-yourself shows around.
Photos by Jeff Moses
Their biggest show to date took place Friday, December 27, when they brought in 56 mostly local bands to the downtown Phoenix art district for the second annual PHX FMLY FEST. The all-day event encompassed nine DIY stages spread out among eight local businesses. In most cases, the stages constituted little more than a place where a P.A. was set up, but it hardly mattered.
"Oh, man, it was really incredible," says Pfeffer. "Honestly, it was so much more fun than last year, just way, way, way cooler. There were more people, the peoples' level of enthusiasm and participation was way better."
The show kicked off at 3 p.m. with Fractal Freeway, Powdered Milkmen, Just Animals, and Ichi Sound. A lot of the earlier bands comprised high school students, including the Powdered Milkmen (from Desert Vista High School) playing in Jobot's backyard. The 17- and 18-year-olds had a crisp rock 'n' roll sound reminiscent of Weezer and were pretty damn awesome.
The schedule was constructed such that a new round of bands started every hour on the hour, with each venue taking an hour break throughout the day. The 4 p.m. bands included Sister Lip, who even in the mid-afternoon still commanded an audience of more than 60 in the Made Gallery lot. Garage-punk high-schoolers Captain Samurai's lead singer earned a comparison to "a young Aydin Immortal" (of local punks Wolvves) from Lawn Gnome Bookstore owner Aaron Johnson.
FMLY Fest's first real mosh pit broke out at 5 p.m., when Phoenix-based punks Red Tank got going in Bodega's backyard stage area. The audience really got into their set, even lifting lead singer Chipper up flat on his back and carrying him around the back yard. While Red Tank was rocking out, the more slow-paced Adventurer Outfit was playing its slow jams in Jobot's backyard.
Adventurer Outfit sounded like the type of music one would hear at the prom in a cliche '60s movie. It made for an interesting juxtaposition when blended with the punk rock sounds of the Echo Bombs going on directly next-door in the Made lot.
The lineup was enough to make you dizzy, but traversing the Phoenix arts district and bumping into friendly faces from stage to stage was simply fun -- there's no other way to put it.