So here is what is bad ass about the post … ever since I moved to this new theme the whole idea of a band playing my birthday party, while totally cool, would totally never happen. Anyone that knows me at all knows that The Father Figures are my favorite band here in Phoenix. Heck, they have been one of my favorite bands period since I first saw them play their very first show July 18, 2009. Well, my birthday may have been on April 7th but this dynamite trio is playing a record release party to celebrate their fourth full-length disc Heavy Lifting dropping this coming Friday April 14, so I’m calling that my official birthday celebration. 🙂
The Father Figures make a point when they play a show to create a special event every time, rather than just play and play and play for the heck of it. I like that philosophy. This show and the release of this record have been a long time coming for various reasons. I’m thankful the day is arriving and since I have enjoyed the pleasure of listening to the new disc already I can say that once again this band has released an amazing slab of vinyl! What is really cool is Heavy Lifting is actually on vinyl, their first album to grace that format. The Father Figures had been on AZPX Records for years … Heavy Lifting will be their first release on Slope Records. This label has released some ridiculous material recently from bands such as The Exterminators, Mighty Sphincter, Scorpion vs Tarantula, ONS and even the Nip Drivers! There is a Feederz release on the horizon so The Father Figures have joined some killer company.
“FINALLY! Please come out and celebrate the release of our fourth album, “Heavy Lifting,” on Friday, April 14th at the Valley Bar – and only $5. We’ll have four new songs to throw at you along with a couple new t-shirt designs based on the album cover. We’re excited to have French Girls sharing the night with us along with a couple of vinyl DJs. These release shows are important to us, but this one is different: we are releasing this one on vinyl with Slope Records AND this is by far our best collection of songs to date (we’ll also have CDs available). DJs at 8 and the whole show will be over at 11. Yes 11. Valley Bar only holds 275 so get a ticket to be safe. Thanks to Jim Andreas for the flyer and Mike Fisher for the ridiculous album art. See you soon!”
I’m stoked, I hope you are as well! I went through old files on one of my old flash drives and found some old FFs pictures from that first show, as well as a blog post I wrote about that show when I was working for another company. Here it is, enjoy and then be sure to enjoy the playlist I created. Pretty bad ass material!
Here it is, a concert review of the debut of the Father Figures at the Ruby Room!
July 21, 2009
All right folks, plenty of “professional” journalists covering the local music scene in Phoenix should have already posted a review of this show. They will come on board in time, so for now enjoy the raves of the Dust Devil, because as time has gone on I realize more and more just how special of an evening it was at the Ruby Room watching the Father Figures play live for the first time.
Let’s do the math here. You have three musicians, all veterans of the Arizona music scene. They name themselves the Father Figures because two of the members are 39 and one just turned 50. Together they create a classic post-punk style of music with plenty of melody. One member played in Jody Foster’s Army and Housequake, another member was in the North Side Kings and Hillbilly Devilspeak, and the third in the Voice, 40 Watt Las Vegas and the Captives. To me, that math equals a formula for one promising new band!
This whole evening was one great party. Four DJ’s spun tunes before and after sets from the two featured bands on this evening, the Father Figures and Grave Danger. The DJ’s included Nick Dephinger, Bobby Lerma, Todd Joseph and Rob Locker.
The occasion was to celebrate Father Figure’s guitarist Michael Cornelius’s 50th birthday. Celebrate we did, with plenty of snacks, and even cake and ice cream! The cover at the Ruby Room was FREE on this evening and there were plenty of drink specials. This truly was a grand occasion and loads of fun.
The scary part is, I have not even gotten to the actual show yet …
After two great DJ sets to commence the evening which included music from TSOL, the Descendents and the Pretenders, the Father Figures strode onstage to play their first ever live set. I was both blown away and excited seeing how many people were crammed into the Ruby Room. There was not a whole lot of room to move in this venue, creating a great atmosphere for some killer live music.
Before I leap into “reviewer mode”, let’s get something clear first. Some of you know that I have been friends with Robert Lerma for a long time now. I have mentioned his name in several posts on this blog because of all the great music he has turned me on to. However, I have such a love and passion for music that if a project he is involved with does not turn my crank, I tell him that. He will attest to the fact I have done so on several different occasions.
I tell you that because when I tell you this was a GREAT show, that is from a purely objective frame of reference. If anything, I went into this show with possibly too high of expectations. I had the privilege of hearing rough, instrumental versions of Save it For Later and Something’s Burning weeks before this show. When I heard them, I knew this show was going to be special. A lot of bands claim to be post-punk, but fail miserably at creating music that lives up to the high standard of that genre of music.
Not the case with this band! I really was impressed with what I heard, knowing this trio had only around ten practices under their belt before playing their first gig. From the first chords of the opener Save it for Later, the Father Figures introduced the Ruby Room crowd to a brand new era of alt rock. The crowd ate it up.
Tom Reardon may be in the process of learning a new style of vocals, and it will be a learning process, but he is on his way. The North Side Kings and Hillbilly Devilspeak were bands with a heavier sound, much more hardcore than what the Father Figures do. That is a difficult transition to go from a hardcore style of singing to the more melodic approach required for this band. I look forward to the continued progress in this respect! His bass play remains his strong suit and was a key element during each song, particularly during TBBH. No, I will not tell you what the letters stand for, ask the band when you go see them.
Michael Cornelius became well-known for his smooth bass work, which was so unique for a skate punk band like JFA. How good he is on that instrument was really evident when he was in Housequake, a great funk band. Well, I was pleasantly surprised with his guitar work, which suits the style of this band very well. I would love to have heard his vocals more on the couple of songs he sang, they were a bit low in the mix. What was great to see as a music fan was how sincere he was on stage, and how much fun you could tell he was having. Marvelous!
Bobby Lerma on the drums … I have raved about this guy quite a bit. I am being sincere when I say his musicianship is top notch. Bobby always does exactly what a quality drummer is supposed to do in a band; direct the course of the music and keep everyone on task. He plays hard, but with extreme precision. This is the type of band where his skills really shine through.
TBBH was the highlight of the set for me personally, what a joy to hear for the first time. It possesses great tempo and that killer bass line I mentioned earlier. Something’s Burning is full of intricate guitar licks that hook you from the second they get rolling. The band showed its diversity during the set as well, able to play a mellow track like Happy/Sad, then a mere two songs later totally kick into punk rock mode on AZPX!
Folks, you blew it if you did not go to this show! A great party, a very cool venue (but fix that AC people!) and a great start for the Father Figures. This truly was live music in the manner it is supposed to be played; raw, plenty of emotion and lots of energy. With time I am sure the polish will start to be a factor as well, but it is such a pleasure to see a band in its early stages of existence.
There are two more opportunities to check out the Father Figures in the next few months. This Saturday, July 25, they will perform at the annual St. George’s Day Music Fest at the George and Dragon. My understanding is they will go on around 10:00pm, a prime slot for a band performing for just the second time live! Then on Saturday, October 17, the second birthday bash for one of the band’s members will take place at Hollywood Alley. This time come celebrate with Tom Reardon!
No excuses people! Get off your rear and go check out some great new local music. Trust me, the show this Saturday will be exponentially better than the Keith Urban one the same evening!
I picked some demo versions of songs that I have and don’t ask me about the song I have blacked out. Well, Bobby, Michael and Tom can. Last, here is the link to the first ever interview I did for the Musings back on January 25, 2011. It’s amazing to me how much has happened in six years. 🙂 Cheers!