Saturday, May 12, 2012

Early Saturday Evening in Downtown Mesa: Weird Is the New Cool at the Mesa Rocks Block Party

"Ain't shit to do in Arizona," goes the chorus of Weird Is the New Cool's terrific anthem, "Arizona," but at 5 p.m. today we were able to enjoy a very good hour's set by the smart, breezy local rock-rap hybrid band at the Mesa Rocks Block Party in beautiful downtown Mesa.
We had limited time today so, sadly, we had to miss the earlier acts - Catfish Mustache, Voodoo Swing, and Herb n Life - and had to leave before seeing The Veragroove and Iration,
but we're grateful we got to see the up-and-coming Weird Is the New Cool, whom we were introduced to by the popular video of "Arizona," featuring Authority Zero's Jason Devore, in a romp-filled song that name-checks a lot of what many of us like and hate about this hot place.
It was a pretty hot afternoon, getting close to 100 degrees, but we had our water and were able to be in the shade. The band - Kyle Collins (vocals), Tim Yokley (drums). Nate V.(guitar), Cash Murphy(guitar), Kenny Porter(bass) and Omni Rutledge(keys) - has been compared to Gym Class Heroes and Lupe Fiasco, among others, but their summery, high-energy sound has nicely raggy, intense moments, as on "Skateboarder" from their debut album, Girls.Love.Fun.Music!
There was an enthusiastic, if somewhat sparser than we expected, crowd at that hour of the block party.
But we were really grateful we got to see and here the band perform excellent material like the haunting "Baby Making Music" and their feel-good party song "Beer Pong."
The band finished its set just before 6 p.m., just around the time we had to leave.
On our way to our ancient Geo Prizm, bought used back when we lived here in Mesa in 2001 and still managing to cheat death despite being totally dilapidated (just like its owner), we passed kids lined up for the 6 p.m. shows at The Nile Theatre and Underground.
Anyway, we're sorry we didn't get to spend more time at Mesa Rocks, but as we hurried off to meet some fellow old people in Phoenix, we're glad we did catch Weird Is the New Cool, whose fine alt/hip-hop music was well worth the ninety-minute detour on our way from Apache Junction.

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