Mashups and mixes have long been woven into the fabric of music and pop culture, but there’s an art to it that your average radio DJ can’t replicate. And Two Friends — really, friends Eli Sones and Matthew Halper making happy beats and mashups — might have the market cornered right now, taking up the mantle from DJ Earworm and Girl Talk in recent years. The duo is currently on their Planet Two Friends Tour and stopped at Tempe’s Marquee Theatre to turn the club up on a Tuesday and keep us out past midnight.
Though a number of supporting acts are spread out across this tour, Arizona fans were treated to sets by Justus Bennetts and Evan Giia. The latter is an M3F Fest favorite, bringing her self-described “pretty bangers” — pretty verses with banger choruses — to the Valley in the spring. On the Marquee stage, though, the bangers really came to life with bass reverberating around the room.
Giia is a high-energy performer who engages the audience, and this set was no different. She sashayed back and forth across the stage, calling out fans’ dance moves and good vibes during tracks like “WHAT U NEED?” and “For Aisha.” Before “By My Side,” there was a request to FaceTime any friends who weren’t at the show. It was just what the crowd needed to distract them from their bedtime notifications.
Right before Two Friends took the stage, the room went pitch black and the covered table was revealed. An illuminated spaceship had arrived to transport us to Planet Two Friends.
The next 90 minutes were something of a blur, as Two Friends spun Tempe its own custom Big Bootie Mix complete with smoke cannons and lasers. Unsurprisingly, the range was incredible: “In Da Club” and “Mr. Brightside” and “Dog Days Are Over” and “Scotty Doesn’t Know” and “Everytime We Touch” and the duo’s own songs sprinkled in. And “Teenage Dirtbag” and “No Type” and “Party And Bullshit.” You get the idea.
As the set wound down, the two friends picked a lucky fan to join them on stage for a “contest” where she tried to shoot a ball through a tiny hoop — blindfolded. “They’re going to miss. Go crazy anyway,” the screen behind them read. Sure enough, the crowd went wild for the air ball, and the openers ran out on stage to join Two Friends for one last track. “Stacy’s Mom” closed things out while the crowd sang along as loudly as possible. And then it was time to return to Earth, bidding Planet Two Friends goodnight and thank you for the best abduction we could have asked for.
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Story and photos by Taylor Knauf