It’s always been Des Rocs and his Filthy Animals against the world and that energy was running hot in Phoenix this week. After a vehicle breakdown in California almost derailed the Arizona date of the Dream Machine Tour, Des and his band rallied everything they had to make it to Last Exit Live- and the fans could not have been more overjoyed to welcome them back.
Unfortunately, these difficulties meant that Starbenders did not make the show, but credit was given where it was due to local rockers Christopher Shayne who lent their gear and their vibes to the beleaguered tour. Armed with their guitars and a plethora of borrowed backline, Des took the stage earlier than anticipated to kick things off with “Dream Machine” and “Wayne”.
In true rockstar fashion, he was clad head to toe in his signature leather look, but the jacket came off pretty quickly as- even in November- the desert turned up the heat. Much of the set was obviously dedicated to Des’ latest album, but he snuck in some old favorites and everyone banged their heads and stomped their feet to “Used to the Darkness” and the sinister “Maybe, I”.
Watching a Des Rocs performance is akin to cheering on your best friend as they morph into their most epic self and it’s been that way all these years he’s been performing in Phoenix. Everyone in the room was a friend of the gentlemen onstage- whether you’d met them before or not. That atmosphere turned Last Exit Live’s cramped interior into an intimate backyard bash that put huge grins on everyone’s faces.
“I Am the Lightning” was a highlight moment towards the end of the set, as Des was pouring sweat right alongside his audience. They exited after a spirited rendition of “Let Me Live / Let Me Die” before (of course) returning with an encore of “MMC” and “Suicide Romantics”. Des and the crew stuck around to meet all the lingering desert rats and Phoenix was thrilled to experience an incredible evening that nearly didn’t happen.
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Story and photos by Olivia Khiel