Gap Dream, GRMLN, Wolvves, Petty Things - Viva PHX Alley Stage - 3/7/14

Categories: Last Night

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GRMLN performs last night at Viva PHX.
Although they incited bodies that start colliding in front of the stage and left a crowd of more than 150 people satisfied and smiling, a few of the band's members (Parker and lead singer Aydin Immortal in particular) were very critical of their performance. "We kinda sucked," Immortal says. "The first half of the set we couldn't hear anything in the monitors. The gear was weird, there were monitors and shit. What the fuck is a monitor? It was stressful."

Orange County-based pop-punkers GRMLN experienced the same problem as Gap Dream. Their set was strong, their tunes sounded great, but the audience drawn to that particular stage just seemed to be locally focuses. The audience clearly enjoyed the music, they just did not respond the same way for the touring acts as they did for the locals.

Parker perfectly highlighted that local spirit that was flowing through the place with his reply when I asked what bands he was excited to see at Viva PHX. His answer: "Petty Things," who were up next in the Alley.

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The band went on at 10 p.m. with bassist Austin Owen rocking an interesting black bass with no head on it and equally interesting pair of ripped underwear that showed off his ass crack. The crowd started out being a bit modest (unlike Owen) but quickly grew into a frenzied bunch of moshers, movers, and shakers. Some people were pushing and shoving and others were frolicking about to Petty Things' old-school garage rock sound.

The Alley Stage's last act Playboy Manbaby was running late in starting its set, so I went to the Hotel San Carlos to catch some of Dry River Yacht Club, but that stage was running behind as well. After meandering back to the alley where I watched something I had only seen happen before in commercials: An empty alley went from being almost empty to being filled to the brim with a crowd in a matter of moments as people were drawn in by the sound of awesome music.

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Playboy Manbaby

Members of the Bad Cactus Brass Band joined playboy Manbaby on stage during their set, and together they collectively began filling the alley with great music. If it the outdoor venue would've had a roof over it, the two bands would've torn it off.

From the moment of their arrival, those in the crowd were following the direction of Manbaby frontman Robbie Pfeffer. At first, there was dancing, which became a full-on mosh and then included jumping up and down for "Minivan." Before Playboy Manbaby even realized it, they were putting on one of the most inspired sets of an altogether inspiring night.

For one single evening when Art Detour intersected with Viva PHX within blocks of each other, this little conservative cesspool of hate-mongering politicians and backwards-thinking knuckle draggers seemed like a vibrant city capable of exploding on to the national scene as a premier location for music and arts, if only for a few hours.

Immortal probably summed it up best: "It's a good omen that this festival exists today," he says. "Holy shit, five years ago there is no fucking way that this would happen. Five years ago I don't think this could have happened and five years from now I think it's going to happen right."

Word.

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