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Arizona Roadtrip/BRMC in Tempe

I keep putting off writing here about my BRMC road trip, so the details are getting fuzzy. My actual journal is full of my bitching about how annoying security was at the Arizona show and how I complain that I’m not going to enough shows. I’m already looking forward to Las Vegas, and after hanging out with Suzanne and Alexander at Bar 107 last night, I’m even more excited for it. I suppose I will start describing what my road trip to Arizona was like. Dana and Dannielle are really fun road trip companions, and so was Dana’s cousin Mike. However, I was unprepared for all the loud burping and drinking that they’d be doing throughout much of the trip.

Anyways, the trip started at 6:45 AM last Saturday, when Dana came to pick me up. We drove over to Dannielle’s house, where she and Mike were already waiting for us as we sped down the freeway. We made some bathroom and gas stops early in the trip and stopped by the dinosaurs near Riverside. It was surprisingly cold that day, so we quickly took some photos with the dinosaurs. Dannielle has the pictures, but hasn’t sent them to me yet. The drive to Arizona was surprisingly fast with Dana and Dannielle taking turns at the wheel. We got to out hotel/resort at around 1 PM, giving us a good 5 1/2 hours before the show to relax and get ready. Our room was smaller than expected, with only 2 twin beds and a foldout couch. There was a tiny kitchen that we didn’t really use.

We took a walk around the resort and to the neighborhood thrift store. Then, me, Dana, and Dannielle took a quick dip in the pool. It was one of 3 pools at the resort, but it was small and had a lot of pine needles. While we were out, Mike went to a vegan restaurant near the thrift store. It smelled really good when we passed by earlier, and he said they had some great vegan food too. After eating at the hotel restaurant and getting some free drinks, we went back in the car to go to the Marquee Theater. From the outside, it looks like a library or community center since it had light tan colored stucco walls. Jodi was the first person in line and greeted us when we got there.

The security was extremely annoying and unpleasant throughout the evening with the exception of a guy that Jodi befriended. He actually seemed to really like her bringing her water, posters, and a couple blow pops that security had confiscated from her at the door. The venue itself seemed pretty big inside, though I heard there were only 500 tickets sold for the show. The barrier was far from the stage, so the security people could walk through and ruin people’s pictures. The audience was mostly young and unenthusiastic, since some were there for the Fratellis and it was an all ages show. The music was great, but the sound might have been a bit off.

I had a pen and sharpie taken from me at the door, but I managed to bring in another pen and my video camera – which kind of looks like a regular camera in it’s case. Of course, video was not allowed though cameras were actually okay if they weren’t professional. I’d left the camera I’d brought to Coachella at home, so I decided to secretly record some audio from the show. This thought came to me a couple songs into the Black Angels set, but the audio was full of static despite being kind of clear. The Black Angels were really good, just 5 members on stage that day. I later heard from Alexander that the 6th guy had a baby and joined them in San Diego. Their sound was kind of psychedelic and hypnotic with a dark, atmospheric edge. They are deinitely influenced by the Brian Jonestown Massacre, since the guitarist was wearing a BJM shirt and had a guitar with BJM stickers on it. I enjoyed the sitar-like guitars and cavernous sounding drums and bass.

BRMC played an excellent set throughout the night with no waiting for an encore. I couldn’t tell how much the audience were enjoying it from the front, though there was probably more standing and watching than dancing and singing along. “Took Out A Loan” started the show as it does the new album and was well-received by the audience with lots of cheering and excitement. During the middle of it, it has kind of a false ending which continues with lots of white strobe lights reminding me of when they play “White Palms.” Next, was “Berlin” which was already a very familiar and exciting live song, I definitely see it as the next single. The rest of the set was full of new songs from Baby 81, including “Lien on Your Dreams,” “Not What You Wanted,” and of course “Weapon of Choice.” The piano on the stage was put to good use with the live debut of “Window” and then “Promise” right after it.

“Need Some Air” and “American X” features Peter on bass and Robert on lead guitar. “Need Some Air” is a very cool live song with Spike and Peter providing some amusing “whoa oo oo’s” at the end. “American X” has a lot of space in it that reminds me of “Riders on the Storm,” and it was a welcome addition to the set. “Spread Your Love” and “Whatever Happened to My Rock n’ Roll” are live favorites which seem to be permanent parts of the setlist. Rather than making us wait awhile for an encore, Peter played “Fault Line” and “Devil’s Waitin'” on his acoustic guitars. Then, Robert came out for “Mercy” and had the house lights turned down. The rest of the band came out for “Ain’t No Easy Way,” during which Robert threw out a tamborine. The final song of the night was the lovely “All You Do Is Talk,” which starts off slowly and builds to a powerfully stirring chorus. It was a lovely way to end the show.

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