Live: Saint Motel in Phoenix

The dreaded words for concert goers were written in chalk on a small blackboard: “Sold Out.” Those lucky enough to buy tickets ahead of time, however, were delighted by the line above it, reading “Saint Motel.”

A week or two into the “saintmotelevision” tour, Weathers, JR JR, and Saint Motel stopped by the Crescent ballroom in Phoenix, attracting a crowd large enough to pack the house and then some. Phoenix, a quoted favorite of Motel, was more than ready to dance the night away under the snappy sax and popping percussion.

Weathers brings a bit of a contradiction to the table, merging pop with apathetic grunge to make a fundamentally danceable set. Their collective good looks didn’t hurt their cause, anyway. Closing their set with emerging hit “Happy Pills,” Weathers brought their own brand of happy to Crescent.

JR JR has been together for just about as long as Saint Motel, but they opened for them nonetheless. Garbed in sequin cardigans and mildly ridiculous hairstyles (see: photos, seriously), they claimed their mission to be making the audience forget about the stress and problems in the world. Their airy sound wafted the troubles out of the room, cleansing the air. Every member of the band other than the drummer was outfitted with a synth and/or keyboard, and they certainly put them to use. After their set, however, their touring Chihuahua “Potato” stole all the attention.

A typical concert usually contains at least one slower song or moment of calm. Saint Motel’s do not. There was never a time for relaxation or reflection, just dancing, partying, and singing. If you had a voice at the end of the night, you were in the minority.

A/J Jackson quickly became the focal point of the show, despite the bright, glittery drums in the back. Despite being tethered behind his keys for a good portion of the show, he spent every free moment jamming out and interacting with the crowd. Some may have questioned his safety when he stood on top of his piano, but to be fair, there was a sea of teenaged girls who would have been happy to catch him… And never let him go.

Aesthetically based, the show featured colorful, bright lights that complimented each song. Some space between tracks were filled with voiceovers and sound effects, adding to the theatrical element of the show. For such a small place, Saint Motel essentially turned it into an art museum.

The saintmotelevision tour is in support of the band’s new album with the same name, which is to be released in mid-October. They certainly used the show to show off new material, mixing it with older crowd favorites. Given that it’s been four years since fans received a full-length album from them, it was “about damn time.”

“Benny Goodman” was brought out early in the set, in case anyone wasn’t feeling the infectious energy yet. Their newest track “Move” brought forth huge support from the crowd, probably securing it for future set lists. Surprisingly, they didn’t close out with “My Type,” and substituted “Butch” instead.

Truly a highlight of the concert-packed week, Saint Motel will likely have to upgrade venues the next time they’re back in Phoenix. While fans can’t necessarily be impatient about new music, they’ll surely be sitting on their hands until the next tour.

-Kelly Fox