Emarosa celebrated the release of their new album, Peach Club, with a stellar lineup at Club Red on Thursday.
Tempe rockers Monaghans Dixon headed off the evening with an energy that the crowd was not quite yet ready for. The first of a stacked lineup, fans trickled in as the band rocked out on stage, doing their best to get the room excited.
“Let’s go!” lead singer Max Smith encouraged the humble gathering, not letting the lack of interaction deter him. Finishing out their set, he thanked those who were there for coming out early.
Lightening things up with a bit of corny humor, alt-rock band LUAU introduced themselves next.
“You could call us ‘The Cardigans’ tonight!” lead vocalist Evan Hallock joked about his and bassist Chris Windsor’s matching cardigans. “It’s cold out!” As the size of the audience grew, so did the energy of the room. Concertgoers nodded indulgently to the music. Addressing the stark silence between songs at one point, Hallock shrugged, “we tune a lot!”.
After introducing the acts to follow with much enthusiasm, he quipped, “I’m the hype man without the tracksuit right now!”
Phoenix rock band Sunday at Noon entered next, magnifying the vibe of the nearly full room at this point. Engaging the audience from the get-go, lead vocalist Jack VanDerPol encouraged listeners to “play a game” with him during the breakdown of opening song “Thunder”.
Combining guitar tricks, hair flips, kicks and dancing with impressive vocals reminiscent of Steven Tyler, groovy bass riffs, awe-inspiring guitar solos, and hard hitting drums, viewers were in for a true rock show.
“Repeat after me!” he instructed as the crowd echoed his chosen melodies. Throughout the set hands were in the air, bodies were moving and excited fans squealed in delight when their favorite songs were played.
“Hey good singing, drummer!” someone in the audience yelled after “Come Through”, in which drummer Nate VanDerPol sings lead vocals from the drum kit.
“We’re going in tomorrow to record our fourth studio album!” singer Slade Echeverria announced to an exuberant audience to kick off veteran Arizona band Anarbor’s set.
“Who Cares” had fans singing and dancing along, fittingly without care. “Is anyone in here 18?” Echeverria questioned. With very few hands raised, laughing, he declared, “This song’s for you!”
With great anticipation came pop-rock band Emarosa, who kicked things off by inviting a fan onstage for a birthday serenade.
“Our brand new album releases in a couple hours!” Walden exclaimed. Between the new music and feats such as Walden flipping bassist Robert Joffred in a full circle, the audience reveled in each moment. At one point guitarist Matthew Marcellus mounted Walden’s shoulders, joining the crowd.
Introducing new song “Get Back Up”, Walden entreated listeners to sing along, teaching them the chorus before heading into it.
Peach Club is a new direction for the formerly post-hardcore band. Embracing a more pop-centric direction, they have chosen to create new music free of expectations. Combining their familiar alt-rock energy with groovy bass lines, dance ready beats and a more positive lyrical tone, Peach Club invites listeners to be a part of the growth and freedom that Emarosa has achieved.
“Thank you all for being here and being a part of the Peach Club… we appreciate you!” Walden said in closing, before leaving the stage. With the audience not ready to say goodbye, Emarosa readily returned to the stage, finishing off the evening with one last song before heading to their merch booth to engage even more with the charmed crowd.
Story and photos by Kristen Bourdeau