Hoco Fest 2013 - Day 3

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(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
It's been about a month and a half since we've seen any live music. And what better way to get back into it than HoCo Fest's Desert Rock Rival night of music at Hotel Congress?

Photobox ImageFor once we were on time, and had an opportunity to check in, drop our stuff in the room and chat with Thomas before the music started. Many rarities in terms of playing out, starting out with the River Roses. Standing out in front of the stage watching them in the Congress plaza, I couldn't help but reminded of standing in the same spot a few years back waiting for Gentlemen Afterdark to take the stage. Good times at Congress!

Photobox ImageFollowing the River Roses was Walter Salas-Humara. With all the fun we'd had during the day, we'd neglected to eat anything throughout the day, and we're planning on doing a fast food run. However, with Dead Hot Workshop up next, and our experience with trying to find fast food in downtown Tucson last time we we're at Congress, it seemed risky. We opted to eat at the Cup Cafe, and had no problem (which was surprising to me) getting an outside table. Which meant we were able to have some dinner and not miss this band. As a side note, the chips that make up the Cup Cafe's fish & chips were to die for.

I'd noticed Winston Watson milling around the stage during the River Roses, and wondered if he was just there for the experience, or was playing with the Rubies. I was wrong on both accounts. He was on the skins with Walter Salas-Humara. Amazing, just as he has been every time I've seen him play with the mirade of different bands.

Photobox ImageIt's been a while since we've seen Dead Hot Workshop, another band that made the 2 hour trip trek south a new brainer. Much hilarious between some banter courteous of Brent. While we were heading to Zia today, we'd mentioned hoping they'd play Speedway tonight. Alas, that did not happen. Not that we didn't know that was wishful thinking.

Photobox ImageThe area in front of the stage filled up significantly when the Sand Rubies took the stage. It's the Sand Rubies playing at Congress in Tucson - so no surprise there really. Just like every other few and far between opportunity I've gotten to see, they sounded amazing. Here's a band that sound great on record, and pull that off perfectly live.

And a happier band on stage you probably will not see. The shit big grins on all four members faces throughout the entire set was hard to miss.

Photobox ImageBoth Katie and I were in awe of Ken throughout the set - completely rock-staring it up. I was actually quite entertained during the soundcheck with him checking the length of bass lead, hoping across the stage and ensuring he had enough slack to reach Hopkins' side of the stage. Then walk back, re-adjust, and repeat. That is the sort of rock n' roll preparation I appreciate in a bass player. That was tame in comparison to his rock n' roll posturing throughout the actual set, with moves that I can't even describe in words. Towards the end of the set as he wrestled with (and then completely abandoned) a guitar strap that just wouldn't stay on, the rock n' roll moves just continued. If you want to be a cool bass player, here's my advice - be more like Ken Andree.

A great set by The Rubies, with a powerhouse of What Am I Supposed To Do? followed up Doesn't Anybody Believe early on the set. And only Solitary Man separating them from We Don't Do That Anymore. A jangle tasting set list that had me grinning about as much as the band themselves. Directly followed was Goodbye, which kept that grin planted on my face. Just a great 40 minute set, though you couldn't help but wished they'd play for double that (and then some).

Photobox ImageRounding out the Desert Rival portion of the evening were The Pistoleros. What was evident tonight, which may have been true the last time we'd seen them play, was that by the end of Wasting My Time, they've more or less transformed into a metal band. Any band which Thomas Laufenberg is a member flirts with that by sheer virtual of Thomas, but on Wasting My Time it's not just that. Pretty awesome.

Photobox ImageIt's was a somewhat short set from The Pistoleros due to schedule running a little bit behind at this point. Of course, of late I've we've been spoiled with some quite long 'eros sets.

A set list highlight was certainly 1,000 Miles. Maybe they've played that one of recent times, but it seems like a deep cut live, and given how much I love that song, it was great hearing it tonight.

After The Pistoleros, we took advantage of having a room, and retreated upstairs to take a nap while two bands we didn't know played downstairs. Not the most rock n' roll today, but by this stage we'd been watching bands for 5 hours, so we were owed a bit of rest. Walking through the lobby of HoCo, I was struck, as I am many times, how cool the place is, and what a cool vibe it has. Like everything in the world is happening right there. Which is the great thing about staying at Congress (along with it facilitating napping between sets).

Just after midnight we wandered down to catch Corey & PC with DYRC, before heading back up to the room to call it a night. Congress stayed alive and kept partying with a dull thumping of Club Congress and the chatter of a lobby full of people beneath us. Or at least I'm sure it did - not even the noise of Congress could keep me awake 5 minutes after my head hit the pillow.

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