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Show Review: Corey Harper takes Phoenix into the Future Tense with Valley Bar stop

“You’re on the Future Tense tour!” Corey Harper exclaimed in disbelief to the crowd, who gathered at downtown Phoenix’s Valley Bar on Tuesday night. 

Harper, who’s on his first headlining tour to support last year’s debut — the aforementioned Future Tense — is amazed that he‘s been stopping in “random cities” and people keep showing up to see him. He says he’s known for a long time that music was his calling, but being a headliner after all these years is something he’s still getting used to. 

And it suits him well, though it’s likely easy when the opener is such a delight. Fellow singer-songwriter Emmanuel Franco kicked things off with a no-frills acoustic set that showcased his voice and musicality, and he broke down the metaphorical wall by engaging with the front row. 

In small clubs like Valley Bar, the crowd engagement is everything. Fans show up because they care about the artists behind the music, and they want to hear the stories of their favorite songs. 

Corey Harper had plenty of stories to tell. From his move to LA at 17 to processing the loss of his cousin through music, the artist shared so much about his journey in between songs. We got “Vulnerable in the Sky” and “Villain of Your Story” and “2 Tickets,” plus “Blind,” which Harper wrote with his friend Noah Kahan. His friend! Love to see it. 

Closing with the “absolutely true” story of “Pink Razor,” Corey Harper thanked the crowd for joining him and bid us farewell — but we’ll see him again in the future tense. 

Check out all the photos!

Story and photos by Taylor Knauf