The Rocket Summer - 5/10/2016 at The Rebel Lounge
By Jesii Dee
Walking up to the Rebel Lounge on a calm & relatively cool Tuesday night there was a buzz to the line that had formed waiting for the doors to open. With a mix of rainbow haired kids and adults (kids implied, due to the high volume of X's on hands), the line moved nicely into the venue at exactly 7:30. The Rebel Lounge is small space, allowing for any where you're standing or seated to have a decent view of the stage. Even if you're behind the gates of the bar zone at an all ages show, you're not boxed out at a weird angle, which is always appreciated.
The space filled in slowly, as locals The Foxies began their set. With a glam indie rock vibe, they had the rooms attention from start to finish. Singer Julia Lauren interacted with the crowd between numbers, and encouraged us to also come see her for a vegan meal if that's what you're into at her daytime job. According to their Facebook, this was their last Phoenix show as they are relocating, a loss for us since they put on a killer show, but a gain for them and their careers.
With a break between sets, the crowd expanded and the anticipation was palpable in the room. With a 15+ year career behind him, The Rocket Summer has built a very dedicated fan base. I over heard at least two people discussing their excitement to see man & music that had a profound impact on their lives. Which is a testament to Bryce Avary's talents, as the leading man behind the band, to say the least.
The band took the stage and immediately jumped right in to an infectious pop song, with the crowd singing along. With 6 albums of material to choose from, it bounced around quite a bit but each song still had a chorus of people singing along. Avary is a notorious multi-instrumentalist, and he swapped from vocals, guitar, piano and even drums. Getting the crowd moving and interactive early on, and sustaining that through the next almost 2 hours of music was nothing short of impressive. During the song "CA, FL" from their latest record Zoetic, he swapped out California for Arizona in every chorus; which brought in a local twist to it.
After a brief intermission of sorts, Avary returned to the middle of the venue floor this time, to play an acoustic song. I could barely hear him through the speakers over the crowd singing! Once back on stage, and still solo, he started looping together sounds, then added bass, drums, keys and guitar before layering more vocals to build up a full song. How he can keep each layer working together in such a seamless fashion, building up a song to then unfold live was a real highlight. I've not seen someone put that many different things together live like that before, and be impeccably successful. He then played requests, some of which were very old songs that he even said he hadn't played in years. Somewhere in the mix was a surprise cover song, "First" by Cold War Kids, while literally hanging from the rafters of the stage.
Bringing the band back out, they played through about 4 more songs, including the sweet ballad of "You Are, You Are" from the latest record, and the last song bringing the energy back up for the closing number "So Much Love."
This was one of the most vibrant shows I've seen, ever, and give a huge round of applause to Avary and his band for a marathon of a show. Special shout out to him, his band & crew for being incredibly nice (and funny) after the show as well. Until next time, cheers.