Local bands compete to play at First Friday; winner to be announced today

Austin Rickert of the band Red Tank plays at Civic Space Park on Thursday in an effort to win his band a spot playing at First Friday in June. ASU's Programming and Activities Board planned the event. (Cydney McFarland/DD)

Civic Space Park was home to local musicians vying against each other Thursday night for a chance to play at First Friday.

The concert was planned by ASU’s Programming and Activities Board as a way to “advocate local spirit” on the Downtown campus, director Olga Teran said.

Holding the event at Civic Space Park gave students an easy way to support local music at a familiar place, Teran said.

“Downtown Phoenix is so urban that a lot of events are hidden,” she said.

The winner of the competition will get the chance to perform at June’s First Friday event in front of Revolver Records, giving them exposure to the hundreds of people that attend the event. They will also get to perform at the Action, Advocacy, and Arts event planned by PAB on April 6.

Mathew Nevarez, president of PAB and a social work major, said the concert was a way to unify culture across campuses, as the majority of the bands were Tempe-based.

“We have such a large university with so many different campuses,” he said. “It feels good to see students supporting other students.”

Perhaps the best example of this was during Smitty Khiry’s set.

After introducing himself to the crowd, he said that he had stage fright and needed a minute. The crowd cheered encouragement until he began his set of electronic and hip-hop music.

The winning band will be announced today, after PAB and Undergraduate Student Government judges review the bands’ performances and the crowd reaction they received.

Local acts ranging in style from metal to hip hop performed at the event. Panama Gold, Smitty Khiry, Red Tank and Fate of the Hopeless played for a crowd of about 50 students and a few Downtown residents under the neon lights of the park.

The bands were required to have at least one current ASU student and were selected by the PAB and USG from a pool of contestants.

The fact that the concert was free gave it the ability to expose people to live music that wouldn’t otherwise have been interested or able to attend, Anthony Taylor, vocalist for Fate of the Hopeless, said.

Jeff Habgood, an ASU freshman and singer for the band Panama Gold, thought the concert provided a perfect avenue for Downtown students to discover fellow students’ bands.

“If you don’t go see your local bands, we won’t have any scene or culture,” he said.

Contact the reporter at hailey.paquette@asu.edu