By Allyson Bills
The Twin Ponies’ show for their second EP, Friendly Pet Mass Graves, was a night of friendship; and a personal lesson learned for myself- I’ll get to the second part later. I arrived at the Phoenix’s The Rebel Lounge on a Friday night to find myself in Yuma reunion of sorts as two members of Tempe’s Twin Ponies, singer-guitarist Wayne Jones and bassist/synthesist Phillip Hanna are originally from this town. Two of my good friends in the audience are also from Yuma, so it was nice to see other parts of Arizona represented in The Valley music scene. Friday night’s show was only the second time that I’ve seen Twin Ponies. I first saw them open for Pile at Cornish Pasty in March. This is surprising because both Jones and Hanna were also members of Valley rockers Kinch years ago, and I used to go out to see this band play on a fairly regular basis.
Twin Ponies took the stage promptly at 12:21am to a decently-packed (for a local show) audience at The Rebel Lounge with no introduction, and going right into the first song of their set, with “L’eggo My Eggo” from Friendly Pet Mass Graves. This song had nice jazzy start with great harmonies from Jones, guitarist Jacob Lauxman and drummer Jordan Tompkins. However, there was a lighting problem during the song, but it didn’t faze them going into “Griff,” also off their new EP. This song was a personal favorite of mine of their set because of how Hanna’s sythensizers were used in some of the parts usually reserved for guitars. I’m not usually a fan of synthesizers, but it works will with this band’s 90’s alt-rock sound, giving it new life for the second decade of the 2000's.
Twin Ponies were all business, and it showed throughout their set, only taking minimal breaks to address the audience. After “Phallacy,” from their first EP Pores, Jones finally address the audience saying, “Thanks, friends. You all are really fucking awesome for hanging out with us on a Friday night. Going to shut up now.” They then played the rest of their approximately forty-five minute set with the songs from both of their EP’s, as well as Exuvaie from their split EP with Celebration Guns. “Pink Skin” from Pores, was a rocking sound that highlighted the guitar section of Jones and Lauxman that got the crowd dancing; along with "Rock n’ Roll Cough", from the new album, with the slow, guitar-heavy introduction and with a big sludgy burst of of guitars and synthesizers at the end. I even saw some head-banging from the audience during this song.
Even towards the end of their set, Twin Ponies were still all business with Jones saying, “Skip the nonsense, if you guys are down to hang.” Lauxman then added, “Don’t do drugs,” before playing “Mugger” from Pores, one of their slow jams. The audience was loving Twin Ponies, screaming “Don’t stop,” before their last song, fittingly called “The End.” This song was their most well-received song of the night, and with the ending quote from Jones, “Thanks a lot, friends.”
Overall, it was a sold EP release show for Twin Ponies. I enjoyed their new material. I also liked that Twin Ponies thanked the people who helped them behind the scenes who helped them make Friendly Pet Mass Graves, something that I don’t see often at shows. It was great that engineer Alex Cardwell, mixer Frederick Huang and artist Darren Simoes also got the credit they deserved. The personal lesson, which I mentioned at the beginning, is that I’m always “too busy” to eat dinner. As a result, I felt sick throughout Twin Ponies’ set, and had to leave right after it ended. So, my apologies to Twin Ponies for not sticking around after the show to hang out. There’s nothing hotter than ending my Friday night sitting on my couch eating crackers. Lesson learned.