The DIY scene is alive and well in Arizona, with downtown Mesa’s Nile Underground fully in business hosting bands and fans—and getting sweaty doing it. Such was certainly the case on Monday night when the youths packed The Underground for Betcha and Arlie after months of patiently waiting for the groups to tour.
Warming up the crowd was left to local four-piece Lovelaced, who brought plenty of friends and family to the dance party. Playing mostly upcoming releases (and their available-everywhere single “Lemondrop”) the group showcased the next generation of alternative pop/rock. It’s here, and it’s in good hands.
Further proof: Arlie, the Nashville-based indie pop group perfect for fans of Sure Sure, Hippo Campus, and the like. Upon taking the stage, a fan handed frontman Nathaniel Banks a piece of paper that made him laugh immediately. “IDEAL ARLIE SETLIST,” it read, followed by line after line of “WATER DAMAGE” down to the bottom. Alas, the band had other songs to play: “tossing and turning,” “didya think,” and other airy, melodic tunes that had heads bopping and phones in the air. Even a “Happy Birthday” serenade! It’s no wonder why the crowd swarmed the merch table after Arlie’s set.
But some empty space just meant a better view of Betcha, who finally made it to the Valley after their scheduled 2020 tour never got off the ground. Even better, vocalist Charlie Greene was dressed on point, sporting a Suns shirt that he’d been wearing all tour long. (We can pretend it was for us, though.) The quartet—Greene, Ben Booth on guitar, Taylor Dubray on bass and keys, and Chase Wofford on drums—treated the fans to a setlist featuring tracks from both albums and this year’s Jaded EP that was released mere days before the show. And the songs, especially “Jaded”, sounded even better without the polish of production, from the raw vocals to the riffs.
Some moments for the highlight reel: Greene jumping onto the floor to sing along with the crowd, the cover of The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face”, and the joke that “Closer to the Sun” was written for Arizona because that’s how our summers feel. Oh, and “Swim Naked” just because that song will always slap.
Will I be front and center next time these guys are in town? You Betcha.
Check out all the photos from the show!
Story and photos by Taylor Knauf