By Allyson Bills
How does a band cool off in the searing summer heat? They go on tour. Oh, and throw an album release party, too. This is exactly what Emby Alexander (comprised of Michael Alexander on vocals/guitar, Kyle Grabski on bass, Jeremy Lentz on drums, and Tim Arimborgo on glockenspiel/guitar) did Friday night at The Rebel Lounge in support of their second full-length album, Behaves Like Beehives, released on June 1, 2015.
I arrived around nine o'clock at The Rebel Lounge to check out the other openers on the night’s bill, and was concerned when I saw an estimated thirty people in the venue during that time. Considering that Emby Alexander has received favorable press from Valley publications such as Phoenix New Times and Java, as well as International attention from UK’s The Sound of Confusion, I’m surprised there weren’t as many people as I hoped. However, I was relieved to see more people show up as the night went on.
Emby Alexander took the fog-lit stage over samples around midnight with their dedicated fans and family in attendance. They opened up their set with the title track off Behaves Like Beehives, a catchy, chamber-rock gem that got the crowd dancing and clapping. After they were done playing the first song, Alexander stated this is the “first day on tour” in reference to their current West Coast/Mexico/Canada tour.
Playing the Behaves Like Beehives album release party at The Rebel Lounge was a homecoming of sorts for Alexander because he told the crowd that his first show was at The Mason Jar at the age of thirteen, and was unable to hangout and drink after he played, so he instead drank in the alley. Alexander added “joke’s on them.”
After that, Emby Alexander played approximately a forty-minute set with a mix of songs from Behaves Like Beehives (“Behaves Like Beehives,” “Remember Wishing We Was Born Dumb,” “Dance To The Pulse Of The Throbbing Pain,” “URAQTBB” and “Rain Dance Snowed In”), and their previous releases Frontispiece and self-titled EP Emby Alexander. Unlike the standard four-piece bands, Emby Alexander have samples and an additional floor tom, which make them stand out from their counterparts. This was evident on songs such as “URAQTBB” from Behaves Like Beehives and “Oh Here We’re Tangled" from Emby Alexander.
From what I saw, all the band member were playing spot-on, except for some slight sound issues on “Dance To The Pulse Of The Throbbing Pain.” Other than that, plenty of people stuck around and danced to properly begin Emby Alexander’s tour. Alexander gave this goodbye message to the crowd before they played “Rain Dance Snowed In,” “keep Phoenix warm for us while we are gone.”
What I learned last night was how dedicated people, although small numbers, are to the local music scene. It was nice to see different groups of people come out for this show, and actually stay well past midnight. This was especially evident last night after Emby Alexander’s set when the audience demanded they play more songs, which Arimborgo responded while holding up the set list, “sorry that’s all the was on paper.” My only complaint, however, is that Emby Alexander oftentimes didn’t tell the song titles before they play that particular song, which I found could possibly be confusing to a fan who has never seen the band. In my opinion, Emby Alexander is one of the more underrated bands on the Valley music scene, and I would recommend catching them they next time they play in the Valley.