Walking into a packed Valley Bar on a Sunday night was a pleasant and entirely welcome surprise. Tourmates Wilderado and Sure Sure managed to fill the hip basement venue on the most unlikely of evenings for what turned out to be one groovy party.
Wilderado’s indie folk-rock created a hype in the audience that’s hard to explain without being in the middle of it. Fans waved their arms, jumped and sang along and the band loved it. Singer Maxim Helmerich’s stellar vocals elicited the biggest cheers of the night.
Wilderado also sang the praises of their tour mates (and headliner) Sure Sure.
“You’re going to love that show. They’re like…real musicians,” Helmerich joked to genuine laughter from the crowd. Wilderado’s set was so popular that the audience demanded more music before heading immediately to the merch table to meet the band.
California quartet Sure Sure has been one of my greatest recent discoveries and watching them put on a show was a treat.
“Phoenix is a joy!” said drummer Kevin Farzad, setting the tone for an epic Tuesday night party. While the crowd had thinned a bit, devoted fans crowded the stage to pass flowers and tokens to the band. Their tradition of giving a medal for “most lit audience member” riled up the underage fans and we were off.
Sure Sure is a very experimental group, working with a number of different instruments and sounds to create their unique brand of indie-pop. While their debut record was more mellow, Sure Sure’s live shows are anything but. Guitarist and vocalist Charlie Glick’s slick grooves turned the band’s songs into dance party anthems.
New single “Lie Lie Lie” played early and warmed up the room for the rest of the set. The energy was wild for a weekday, especially on the underage half of the room, with fans screaming about how much they’d missed the band. Bassist Michael Coleman, when not tethered to his mic or his trusty tambourine, drifted to the right side of the room to interact with the more engaged group in the audience while singer Chris Beachy’s solid and dependable vocals held the set down. Glick’s tradeoff with Beachy on vocals enhanced an already unique performance. Glick’s crunchy guitar solos transformed the album tracks into a whole new experience for their live audience.
The band celebrated their debut album with this tour, playing “New Biome”, “Solstice Song” and more from the record. Fan-favorite “Hands Up, Head Down” came with its own charmingly awkward dance steps (we all just went with it as the band giggled at us through the chorus).
Coleman awarded the medal to an extremely excited fan as they closed the set. Refusing to let the night end, the crowd chanted for an encore until Sure Sure retook the stage. Ending the night to applause and adoration, the band solidified their status as adorable and charming by meeting every fan after the show, receiving gifts and stories long after the show had ended.
“We missed you!” was the sentiment most shouted at the guys and it’s true. Only a few days gone and Arizona already can’t wait for Sure Sure’s return to a Phoenix stage.
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel