By Nathan Pavolko
After the release of Raw Fabrics' latest EP Plastic Joy, the band underwent some major changes. Due to deep personal issues, the trio became more and more distant, constant fighting and a depressed Jack B. Franco drew the band to a halt. The planned tour was put on hold for the moment as they attempted to move past and resolve their problems. Then, after the life-changing experience Franco had gone through, he ultimately decided to part ways with members Jon Fredrik and Justus Dixon and set out on his own as Raw Fabrics.
After the dust and debris cleared, Franco’s passion for music and life came back full throttle, inspiring him to write new material and get back on track with the tour. With Fredrik and Dixon gone, Franco needed at least a temporary drummer to go on tour. After that spot was filled, they both set out to travel the west coast, playing shows throughout California, Washington and eventually circling around to Arizona at Pub Rock Live in Tempe for their last show of the tour.
I don’t get out to Tempe as often as I would like, so this was my first time being at Pub Rock, which is a decent-sized dive bar with plenty of seats in the back near the bar and floor room in front of the stage. It had that vibe that would be perfect for some grimy punk music or some 90’s grunge. The bar that night only held a small crowd, but none-the-less they were eager to see Raw Fabrics. After the sound check, the band kicked off hard with their fast-paced rocker “Dead Instruments”. Franco thrashed his guitar with vigor and moved across the stage as the drummer in the back hovered on the higher tier, holding down racing and somewhat funky beat.
A few people in the crowd were moving and dancing about, while others stood attentively watching the music unfold. Franco, throughout the show, bounced between multiple instruments, always singing as he played guitar, bass, and a floor tom or pacing around on stage and through the crowd. The minimal set up made it hard for the band to get experimental with any of the songs. Pre-recorded tracks of the other parts were played to fill in the gaps, which surprisingly went very well. It can be extremely difficult to play along with pre-recorded tracks at a show because you want to amp everything up and make your songs more lively, but you are restricted to that track’s limitations. The band pulled it off musically; however watching the band was a little underwhelming at times. With two people on stage and pre-recorded tracks playing, there’s not much else to look at but the lead singer go wild and the drummer hold it down; although they did have a neon tube light sign glowing bright behind them, which was a nice touch.
The sign conveniently had the name of one of their singles called “Beast" off their EP which was one of the highlights of the show, with Franco pouring his heart out through the microphone. Another great track was the title track of their EP “Plastic Joy,” which had Franco surrounded by the crowd as he pounded on the floor tom screaming into the microphone. The now two-piece played the entirety of the Plastic Joy EP along with an older track to add a little extra flavor. Many in the crowd were singing along with Franco during the show; however small the crowd was, they were definitely loyal. All in all, Raw Fabrics played a great set considering the recent changes they have gone through, albeit a bittersweet end to the tour.