By Allyson Bills
San Francisco’s The Soft White Sixties are one charismatic band. Vocalist Octavio Genera, guitarist/keyboardist Aaron Eisenberg, bassist Ryan Noble and drummer Joey Bustos blew up the Valley Bar in Phoenix on a Saturday night with their blend of rock, funk and R&B. The band came to Phoenix for one night only in order to play for local radio station KWSS, which radio personality Beef Vegan stated that The Soft White Sixties are a “station favorite.” You could easily see why, with the venue still packed, despite the 11:21 p.m. start time, with tons of people screaming in the front when the band took the stage like they owned the place.
I’m not much of a huge night owl myself. However, The Soft White Sixties made me forget about being tired with the very first notes of “Knock It Loose” from their 2014 debut full-length album, Get Right. Genera had tons of energy dancing all over the stage that resonated to the crowd. He could pretty much take down Michael Jackson in a dance-off. After the song, Genera stated, “You guys fucking came ready to go,” before busting into “I Am” from their self-titled EP. Ready to go; he was right. I was blown away by the amount of energy and dedication in the audience, who have been waiting all night to see The Soft White Sixties.
The energy continued into the funky tune of “Up To the Light” from Get Right. The harmonies from Genera, Eisenberg, Noble and Bustos got the crowd feeling the feels; especially from the woman in front taking tons of pictures of Genera throughout the song, probably for her future Man Crush Monday (#mcm) on Instagram. Genera was also feeling the feels, so much so that he invited the crowd to hang out with the band at the Hyatt (where they were staying) after the show. It didn’t matter where they were staying hotel-wise because the party was at the Valley Bar, where it belonged.
This party had some variety. Who needs an after-party? The Soft White Sixties were smart in having an extra keyboard player for this show because it enabled Eisenberg to concentrate on his guitar parts. This was demonstrated on both “Queen of the Press Club” from their self-titled EP, and “Don’t Lie to Me” from Get Right, where his guitar solos really shined. “Don’t Lie to Me” was a psych-rock number that got everyone grooving to the extent of Genera buttoning down his shirt (part-way), and held a dancing dude’s hand in the audience. The Soft White Sixties also got into their softer, funkier side with “Treat Me” from Get Right that was equally received by the crowd as their rocking hits.
Even towards the end, The Soft White Sixties’ energy still permeated into the crowd. You can thank “City Lights,” the opening track off Get Right, with lyrics such as “I’m just having a good time” that got both the men and women dancing like it was the last song. Thankfully for the crowd, who wanted more, The Soft White Sixties ended the way they finished, with “Nice to Meet You, Miss Beverly.” This song gave Genera the opportunity to bust out some “rock start poses” in breaks in the song, and give a hug to a female fan in the front. Everyone was a winner that night.
The nearly hour-long party ended with no encore, but it wasn’t necessary because this party was meant to end with a bang. Earlier in the night, Genera mentioned to the crowd that the band had some naysayers: “You guys are going to Phoenix. I don’t understand.” After Saturday night, I don’t think anyone will question why The Soft White Sixties played Phoenix. The people in this city clearly love them, and it showed during their entire set. As for myself, I was more awake and entertained after the show than before the show. Besides The Soft White Sixties for waking me up, I can also thank Urban Beans for their tantalizing cold-brew, and being open twenty-four hours. If you weren’t feeling the feels after The Soft White Sixties’ set, then you weren’t doing it right.