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Review: Foxy Shazam, Stop Light Observations, Captain Squeegee

Foxy Shazam review, stop light observations, captain squeegee, crescent ballroom

All photos by Mandi Kimes

Local legends Captain Squeegee started the show with “The Factory,” a track the band recently debuted in music video form. It’s interesting to see that some of the motions Danny Torgersen uses in the video are the same on stage. Torgersen is a theatrical genius and probably my favorite Valley frontman. The Ballroom audience began to grow by the band’s second song and was mostly filled with kids in the underage section.

Foxy Shazam review, stop light observations, captain squeegee, crescent ballroomTorgersen referenced that Phoenicians are like the Phoenix bird, being born and then set on fire and then reborn in a crazy cycle, and honestly, I think the music scene is like that here in Phoenix. When the band played “Shift Happens,” all the members were tight and in their groove. Torgersen plays well with the audience. Captain Squeegee ended its set with “Dually Noted” and the audience finally opened up and began to move. Chris Hoskins played a seductive saxophone solo and received high praise during his moment in the spotlight. By the end of the set, everyone was begging for an encore, and the underage section flocked to the merch table.

Stop Light Observations was interesting to experience but in the same category of “interesting” as Captain Squeegee or Foxy Shazam. These guys were all over the place musically. The set started abruptly, with no real warning. The band sounded like a more bass-driven, heavy Squeegee.

We’ll start with what didn’t work for these guys. The bass could knock you down if you weren’t careful. Some songs were too slow to groove to, even if they were written as an “upbeat” tune. There was a feedback issue throughout the entire set, which I understand is also the sound guy’s fault. The band’s stage presence was boring, they didn’t move around like the other bands on the bill.

Foxy Shazam review, stop light observations, captain squeegee, crescent ballroomThe image was confusing: six members who all looked like they had no idea what their band’s category is. I understand if bands are all like, “we don’t subscribe to a label or a genre,” but at least look somewhat similar in style. The lead singer reminded me of Jason Mraz with his sultry voice and fedora; one guitarist looked like he played in frequent country dive bars with his Jack Daniels t-shirt and bandanna around his head; the drummer looked like a southern rock metal drummer with his long stringy hair;  the saxophone player looked like he was lounging on the beach all day with his sunglasses and messy hair in a bun; the bassist looked like a kid who just left the gym; and the other guitarist looked like he played in 1970’s classic rock cover bands for a living. It was all too much to take in. That and the set was sloppy and sounded more like a band practice than an actual performance.

Now for the good: the harmonies were pleasing. “Jungle” was the band’s most popular song of the set, yet I liked “All For Fun.” There was lots of saxophone love in the Ballroom when the saxophonist played his solos and worked the stage. His solos sounded like he did: straining, sweaty, and glistening. I really hope these guys can clean up their image and practice more because I’ve heard the band is climbing the scene and I wish to see it succeed.

When Foxy Shazam took the stage, the anticipation was so hot and sweaty you could literally feel it. Eric McNally began by yelling “GONZO!” in the pitch-black, sold-out Ballroom. When the lights came up, I could not believe my eyes and ears. McNally was dancing all over the stage, using the mic stand as if it were a limber female. He played along the stage more than playing with the audience. He was like RiffRaff from Rocky Horror Picture Show while narrating during transitions.When McNally spoke, he sounded like a Sesame Street character or Bob the Tomato and gave little bits of advice, one of which being, “if the world didn’t suck, we’d all fall off.”

Keyboardist Sky White never stopped moving. If he wasn’t playing keys in a song, he was jogging in place or standing on his keys. He would dance with his keyboard and jump around like an acrobat. McNally would encourage trumpeter Alex Nauth by yelling “Suck it in, Alex! Suck it in and blow it out!” During some of the songs, an adoring fan in the front would give the band members her hat to wear and they wore it with pride. The members even took a break midway to change clothes, which you only see at a Lady Gaga or Beyonce concert.

The show was 100 percent, without a doubt, entertaining with elements of comedy and curiosity. It’s a wonder how they keep the energy up while on tour. During “Who Are You?” McNally said, “You’re Phoenix! No, wait…you’re more than that!” And he was right.

Foxy Shazam review, stop light observations, captain squeegee, crescent ballroom

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