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Show Review: Citizen charges through Phoenix for raw, emotional show

With so many bands out there, it’s a real treat to see a group move a venue to express their rawest emotions. Citizen is one such band. Joined by Queen of Jeans, Teenage Wrist and Oso Oso, Citizen packed The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix on Wednesday for another sold out show on their current tour.

Fans came early for Queen of Jeans but things really started to get rowdy for Teenage Wrist. The California three-piece played Rebel only a few months ago and those that missed out were determined not to make the same mistake twice. Playing songs from their recently-released debut album, Teenage Wrist’s stomping rock and roll got the mosh pit started almost immediately.


“Go crazy while being respectful, if that makes sense,” shouted singer Kamtin Mohager halfway through the set, clearly enjoying the audience’s enthusiasm.

Teenage Wrist plays so well and so engagingly that the fans looked a little shell shocked when their time was up, screaming for more songs.

Oso Oso took the stage next, changing the vibe almost imperceptibly. These alt-rockers leaned a little more on the indie side, but the emotion in their lyrics made them a perfect fit for this tour.


Lead vocalist Jade Dimitri captivated the crowd who took turns jumping and swaying throughout the set. Their emotion and energy made them the perfect segway for the main event.

The fans were screaming long before Citizen took the stage to actually play. Every sad kid in Phoenix came decked in their emo graphic tees with the sole purpose of getting as close to singer Mat Kerekes as humanly possible.

Having seen countless shows at The Rebel Lounge, I like to think I’ve seen it all. Nothing could have prepared me for the passion of Citizen fans. The screamed every single word, filling the gaps with their own vocals and harmonies. Every few minutes, the entire crowd would surge and the front row would hit the stage before the wave retreated.


The band barely paused, powering through a songs from each of their albums. Highlights (really the songs that drew the most screaming) included “Cement”, “Speaking with a Ghost” and the highly demanded encore of “Drawn Out.”

Citizen could not have built a more perfectly kinetic show. Each band brought the audience’s feelings to the forefront and it was like a collective release of angst in that small Phoenix room. For their part, Citizen has only grown stronger as a group and as a lightning rod for their fans’ expressions of emotion. Watching the crowd ebb and flow, the raw passion as they sang lyrics that many had prominently tattooed and the happy exhaustion as they left are clear indicators that this is a band and a demographic not to be ignored.

Citizen is on tour with Queen of Jeans, Teenage Wrist and Oso Oso through July 24 before embarking on a European tour though the fall. Tickets are still available but don’t wait- many are likely to sell out.

Olivia Khiel