It’s not every day that two Atlas faves team up for a cross-country tour, but the Asking for a Friend Tour — featuring Badflower, Des Rocs, and Blood Red Shoes — did just that, packing Mesa’s Nile Theater on Tuesday night for some heavy hitting rock & roll.
Bathed in blues and pinks, British act Blood Red Shoes ripped through some tracks from last year’s GHOSTS ON TAPE to open the evening while the crowd nodded their approval. The duo is celebrating 18 years making music and 1,200+ shows in support of their catalog, and plenty of fans showed up early to catch their set.
Not one to let the energy levels drop in the slightest, Des Rocs followed the opener with a proper spectacle of a set. Frontman Danny Rocco donned a full red leather suit for the occasion, completing the exaggerated New Yorker persona that brought tracks like “HVY MTL DRMR” and “Used to the Darkness” to life. Rocco, alongside bandmates William Tully and Eric Mendelsohn, also debuted new song “Never Ending Moment” to the crowd, much to our delight. And after a cover of “Born to Run” and the booming “Let Me Live / Let Me Die,” the fans waved goodbye and turned their attention to the highly anticipated headliner.
Badflower has been on the road almost nonstop since releasing This Is How the World Ends in fall 2021, but they’re still just as lively on stage as they were years ago when we first started going to their shows. And it seems like the group has moved into a new era of growth and stability along the way — despite “30,” the closing song from Tuesday’s set, and the panic in its lyrics.
With a new(ish) album and singles, Badflower has phased out some of their earlier catalog, but they leaned heavily on 2019’s OK, I’M SICK for the setlist: “x ANA x” and “Promise Me,” plus “Ghost” (of course) and “The Jester.” For anyone who could squeeze toward the front, the album artwork was front and center of Josh Katz’s overalls. Their debut album is still very much a part of their live show, and we couldn’t be happier about it.
After 16 songs and an encore the crowd saw coming from a mile away, Badflower returned for three more, including a tour debut of “Sasshole,” which was requested during the VIP meet and greet. Per Katz, they hadn’t even rehearsed the song, but the fan who asked them to play it was “very nice.”
We had high hopes for this tour and weren’t disappointed. Can’t ask for better than that. Check out the photos from the show!
Story and photos by Taylor Knauf