METROnome: Our columnist’s top 8 artist picks at the Indie 500

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Oliver House will return to the Trunk Space for the third annual Indie 500 after a memorable 2015 performance. (Emily Liu/DD)
Oliver House will return to the Trunk Space for the third annual Indie 500 after a memorable 2015 performance. (Emily Liu/DD)


Reporter Alex Watts is joined by musician and filmmaker Josef Henry Rodriguez to break down a few of the 100 bands you may hear at Trunk Space’s nonstop music event. Preview songs from bands including Andy Warpigs, French Girls and Dinosaur Love.

Twelve years is a long time. It’s longer than the Spice Girls stayed together. It’s longer than the time that it took for Neil Armstrong to get to the moon and the lifespan of a duck combined. But even as The Trunk Space prepares to close its Grand Avenue location, the venue is ready to surpass its 12-year mark, proving the power of Phoenix’s DIY punk culture and community.

For the third year in a row, The Trunk Space will celebrate the anniversary of its founding with the Indie 500, a music festival in which performers will play nonstop until 500 songs are completed. This year, the fest is set to last from early April 23 to late April 24, reducing the three-day range of the 2015 event.

While no indie legends in the rank of Kimya Dawson will play at the third annual Indie 500, nearly 100 artists — ranging from local giants to touring bands — will perform at the show, making the lineup no less impressive.

Even if you’re planning on catching big-name artists like BORNS, JR JR and Nate Ruess at FestivALTAZ in downtown Phoenix the same weekend (very understandably), the following are eight acts you’ll still want to catch. Times are approximate and the current song number will be updated frequently on social media throughout the Indie 500.

1. AJJ: Songs 26 to 35, Saturday, 9:40 a.m.
AJJ — formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad — is quite possibly the most celebrated Phoenix band among The Trunk Space community and for good reason. Their music is solid, and they always add their unique personal flair to every release.

While this will be my first time seeing AJJ live (a ghastly fact for a local music fan, I’ll admit), I only anticipate good things, as I’ve never heard of the band producing a bad show. This set is sure to be a step up from their performance at the first annual Indie 500, because this band just keeps getting better.

2. Logan & Lucille: Songs 56 to 60, Saturday, 12:00 p.m.
Cinderella’s prince couldn’t be more charming than this Tucson duo if he had a lapdog. The group is made up of two fantastic vocalists who create truly genuine music. Logan & Lucille’s songs take a minimalist approach that enhances the quality of their harmonies. Think of it as catchy folk with a little hint of punk. This is one of the sets I’m most excited to see.

3. Diners: Songs 176 to 180, Saturday, 9 p.m.
Diners is one of the groups that is most emblematic of The Trunk Space. The band is equal parts quirky and quality and never fails to disappoint a crowd. On the content side of things, frontman Tyler Broderick is working on releasing a 15-track album, which almost guarantees new songs to differ this Indie 500 performance from last year’s.

 

Trunk Space co-owner Steph Carrico stands on the Trunk Space stage. (Kara Carlson/DD)
Trunk Space co-owner Steph Carrico stands on the Trunk Space stage. (Kara Carlson/DD)

4. Playboy Manbaby: Songs 191 to 195, Saturday, 10 p.m.
Playboy Manbaby is one of those artists that maximizes and energizes every performance, whether on a large music festival stage or in the small Trunk Space arena.

If you want to get a taste of what Phoenix punk should be (and is), this band is a must-see. They’ve clearly influenced a significant numberof local bands in the area — especially newer punk bands that got their start at The Trunk Space — so their set will definitely be a true celebration of the venue.

5. Coffee Pot: Songs 291 to 295, Sunday, 5:40 a.m.
If you happen to be awake at this early hour, the caffeinated tunes spewing from Coffee Pot are all you need to wake up from a sleepy daze. The band’s music incorporates noisy garage rock instrumentals with psychedelic qualities and the occasional saxophone solo, creating a well-aggregated mess — a feat that is rarely possible, if even logical. Despite being based in Flagstaff, Coffee Pot is steadily rising in significance in the Phoenix punk scene.

6. Sad Kid: Songs 341 to 345, Sunday, 9:20 a.m.
With their recent debut EP “Illegitimate Son,” Sad Kid is ready to rock their first Indie 500 set with new tunes. The band is chaotic, but never overdoes it. Sad Kid is basically as punk as punk gets, and their heavy music adds to that vibe in all the best ways.

7. Oliver House: Songs 401 to 405, Sunday, 2 p.m.
At the second-annual Indie 500, this band struck me as overwhelmingly talented at composing instrumentals. Then, they released an EP in late 2015 and my suspicions were confirmed: Oliver House is one of the most skilled bands on any Indie 500 lineup, when it comes to melding guitar, bass and drums together. There is no doubt that vocalist Sean McCauley is a talented singer, but even if he has strep throat, loses his voice and breaks his legs, go see their set as long as his fingers still work to strum a guitar.

8. Drew Danburry: Songs 486 to 495, Sunday, 8 p.m.
Drew Danburry is certainly a talented musician. His latest album, which was released fairly recently, drives together catchy pop vibes and the lighthearted side of folk to create music that begs to be performed live. As a touring artist from Utah, Danburry does not play at The Trunk Space often, so I highly recommend for Phoenix fans to take this chance and hear a relatively long 10-song set from the musician.

Contact the columnist at Emily.Liu@asu.edu