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Show Review: Mesa Music Festival brings Des Rocs, Weathers and countless more to massive East Valley event

In a weekend-long celebration of music and community, the Mesa Music Festival sprawled across downtown Mesa for three days of performances, panels and partying. The massive lineup culminated with Saturday night sets from Weathers and Des Rocs to close out another successful event.

The free music festival took over venues like the Nile Theater and its basement, nearby breweries and restaurants and- of course- the outdoor main stage so attendees could wander the area and see bands from across the local scene and bands who’d made the journey to be there. By the end of the three days, hundreds of fans had explored the plethora of performances from every genre under the sun and devoted fans of Weathers and Des Rocs clamored at the barricade to rock out with their favorites.

Weathers has played Arizona countless times over the years and their fanbase runs deep, as showcased by the impressive crowd that turned up to sing “Poser” and “Problems”. Singer Cameron Boyer is endearingly awkward between songs but made sure that everyone watching was having just as much fun as the band throughout their set. 

It was one of the first truly warm evenings of the year but the heat has never gotten between Arizonans and a killer show. Weathers’ rambunctious energy and impossibly catchy songs started drawing in casual passers-by as they tried to follow along to “Happy Pills” and “One of a Kind” before it was time to boogie to “1983”. The band has their own tie to Arizona as well, with a feature on “ALL CAPS” sung by The Maine’s John O’Callaghan (who sadly was not in attendance to lend his vocals to the set). The band shouted out Mesa one last time and ended the set with “Lonely Vampire” and “C’est la Vie” before making way for the last stage of the evening.

New York rock ‘n’ roll rat Des Rocs is yet another Atlas favorite and he showed up in his signature white threads to bring some real rocker spirit to Mesa. His “Dream Machine” thundered onstage and the headbangers on the barricade had plenty of material in “Used to the Darkness” and the slow pulse of “Maybe, I”. 

After a rousing cover of The Beatles’ classic “With a Little Help From My Friends”, Des Rocs introduced his band and jokingly announced that the show was over- right as the power to the stage went out. As the organizers scrambled to fix things, he hopped onto the speakers, accepted a slice of pizza from a fan and got everyone clapping and searching for an acoustic guitar- the show must go on, after all.

Thankfully power was restored and so was the energy of the night. There’d be no encore for this trio- they played right through fan favorites like “HVY MTL DRMR” and “Let Me Live/Let Me Die” before the set crashed out in a burst of controlled chaos on “Suicide Romantics”. 

The Mesa Music Festival is a time-honored tradition in the East Valley and this year’s event was another amazing success for the city and for the scene. The sense of community was embraced by the national acts that made their way to Arizona for the festivities and it’s the hope that this positive spirit will carry on for years to come.