Sister Lip - Long Wongs, Tempe - 12/23/2013
According to Sister Lip drummer Ariel Monet, the "Lippians" have been playing Long Wongs at the Firehouse every Monday for the past seven months. But even playing the venue once a week and competing with the day before Christmas Eve couldn't stop Sister Lip from packing the room December 23.
Photos by Jeff Moses
With a quality group of openers and closers, including an acoustic set by Kevin Lloyd of Banana Gun and Q of Objective Perspective; The Vintage Squares; Andy Warpigs; and a closing set by the Crown Victoria Vandalism Committee, Sister Lip put on a spectacular, somewhat Christmas-y performance.
Q and Lloyd played some enjoyable music themselves to get the night going; their light acoustic set actually tipped the scales, leaving the night with three acoustic acts to two electric. (Though Sister Lip could play with Kenny G and it would still be an electric night.)
Vintage Squares took the stage next, and the psychedelic three-piece exhibited just a wee bit of the '70s on stage. Something about their look (and the bass player's sharp dance moves) exuded an aesthetic that matched the band's vintage name.
The room did not really seem full until Sister Lip took the stage, but once they did, literally every seat in the venue was taken, as was all the standing room with a sightline to the stage. With Sister Lip on stage, the concert took on more of the feel of an intimate holiday party, thanks mostly to the band's comfortable demeanor on what has really sort of become their home stage.
"Sometimes I feel like I'm going to turn into sand, because I get so happy. Like today, during our first song, I felt like just turning into sand because I was just really really happy," said Monet, and it was all rock 'n' roll from then on.
Sister Lip held the stage, and the audience, for more than 45 minutes, and each song was met with raucous applause from the packed holiday house. The long residency has quite obviously been good to the four-piece blues/rock outfit, who since starting the residency has gone on a two-piece acoustic international tour, performed at multiple festival dates, including ALMF and Side Pony Express Fest in Bisbee, and were named the second-best band under the age of 21 in New Times (by me).
Sister Lip's success is due in large part to their musical abilities, catchy songs, and willingness to play just about any show that comes their way. But another big ingredient has been the quality bookings and networking abilities of their stellar drummer.