Los Angeles based dance rockers Them Guns kicked off their journey to South By Southwest Music Festival yesterday with a stop off at Club Red in Mesa, Arizona. To say it was an intimate show would be an understatement: Navarone Garibaldi (vocals/guitar), Kyle Hamood (keys/synth), Chuck Holiday (bass), and Chris Hudson (drums) took the stage in front of a sparsely filled venue, with a mere handful in attendance (too be fair, however, Phoenicians are notorious for not coming out in droves on weeknights). Them Guns were unfazed, and the select few there provided an incredibly warm welcome. Prior to taking the stage, I overheard Holiday bantering with a staff member that one of the band’s goals is to have fun, and this was ever-present. Garibaldi, Hamood, Holiday, and Hudson don’t interact with each other as if they are solely individuals who play in a band together; the camaraderie shared by these guys is one of legitimate brotherhood, which fuels their playing and infuses their stage presence with a livelihood not exhibited by many other acts.
Them Guns’ set was one that was fun, upbeat, and, well, danceable. By the time Garibaldi and crew had finished their first song, drinks and phones were abandoned at tables and the majority of attendees took to the floor, dancing along. They brought a life brought to the venue and the audience that I’ve not seen those playing to packed houses bring. Saying Them Guns were a magnetic force on stage isn’t exactly accurate; they had a charismatic aura about them that was irresistible to the point where it simply felt right to be close to the stage and moving with the music.
It wasn’t only the crowd who was dancing crazily to their music; not one of the musicians on stage was able to stand still either. Garibaldi and Holiday played like men possessed, each bouncing across the stage, leaning on each other, interacting with Hamood and Hudson (who by design of their instruments were forced to be relatively grounded). Holiday, in particular, provided most spectacle, whipping his bass around like a man on fire, yet always on time to hit the mic for backing vocals. Stand out songs of the evening were “Somebody Called the Cops” (for which they recently released a lyric video, available here), “The Lost Boys”, and an incredible cover of The Cure’s “Lullaby”.
Them Guns is certainly a band that you want to catch live if you have the chance. Their EP is well done, but their stage presence creates an experience that no stereo can ever truly replicate. Them Guns will be playing SXSW at The Dirty Dog Bar on Tuesday 3/15/16, along with Hed P.E. and POD. Check below the break for full photo set from last nights set!