BY SARAI KELLEY MOSS
The Sound of Animals Fighting brought their quick, but vigorous, 13-show tour through Tempe, Arizona to The Marquee Theater with support from Concrete Castles and Hail The Sun.
Concrete Castles, formally known as First to Eleven, is a three-piece band formed in Erie, Pennsylvania in 2009 and consists of vocalist Audra Miller, drummer Sam Gilman, and guitarist Matthew Yost. First to Eleven gained popularity on YouTube, streaming over 1,000,000 subscribers, where they would regularly post covers of beloved artists l Metallica, Rage Against The Machine, My Chemical Romance, and Avril Lavigne. These slickly produced videos have millions of views with Sweet Child of Mine having over 34 million views.
Miller joined the band in 2013 after a series of vocalist and the band soon hit the road joining Warped Tour in 2016. In 2017 the band took a name change, Concrete Castles, after signing with Equal Vision Records, releasing their first single, “Just a Friend”, under the change. Later in 2021, they hit the road with Against the Current and later with Set It Off. The Pennsylvania shimmery rock band currently had one full length album, “Wish I Missed U” released in 2021; along with 9 singles released between 2021-2023. Their lyrics beautifully articulate stories of self-reflection, self-image, and strength told through kinetic rhythms and reverb-drenched guitar and the melodic voice of an angle; equal parts brutal and beautiful.
Haling from Chico, California, post-hardcore quartet Hail The Sun was formed in 2009 and consists of lead vocalist and drummer Donovan Melero, lead guitarist Shane Gann, rhythm guitarist Aric Garcia, and bass guitarist John Stirrat. The band is best known for known for their eclectic progressive rock and math rock style, along with traditional elements of screamo and post-hardcore. Arguably one of the most influential and dynamic acts to hit the scene, the 4-piece band has released 5 studio albums in their 14-year career and 2 EP’s. Forming in high school has a death-core band, Hail the Sun has been blurring the line go genre norms for over a decade. Donovan and Aric have always wanted to keep the high-energy of the hardcore scene alive, while also incorporating melodies and harmonies as a prominent feature in their music. The four individuals have brought a unique fold of modge-podge to life, introducing elements of jazz, funk, blues, fusion, and Latin musical styles. Seeing their performance live is even more mezmerizing. Watching a singer belt out with a full voice while flying through each piece of a drum kit takes more than skill, but a muscle memory attuned to that of a music innovator. Between their chaotic, mind bending atypical patterns are wildly memorable hooks and ear shattering lyrical concepts, they’re one of those bands that come around and have never and will never stop creating intercept pieces of art that you can’t help but put on repeat.
If you look up The Sound of Animals Fighting, they’re labeled as a “rock supergroup” and really, I cannot find a more suitable description for the explosion of experimental rock they’ve curated. The Sound of Animals Fighting have staked out a corner of the modern music landscape with their distinct style, shifting pool of guest artists and unique production methods. Initially formed in 2006 in Los Angeles, California, the band has taken a few jabs at their music over the last 17 years. They released a trilogy of records between 2004 and 2008 and have performed only four live shows in their musical career up until 2023. Employing the use of animal masks to not just hide their identities, but create an experience for the listener to fixate on the music and it’s creation. The live performances were later released on DVD titled “We Must Become The Change We Want To See”. Their performance is everything you’d hope it would be and more, encompassing an array of musical chaos with a line up of 12 musicians in their original 2006 line up, but the current line up consists of “The Nightingale” Rich Balling (Vocals), formerly of the Rx Bandits “The Walrus” Matt Embree (Guitar, Bass, and Production) vocalists for Rx Bandits, “The Lynx” Chris Tsagakis (Drums), Drums for the Rx Bandits, “The Skunk” Anthony Green (Vocals), Vocalist for Circa Survive, “The Wolf” Matthew Kelly (Vocals), Vocalist for The Autumns , and “The Penguin” Keith Goodwin (Vocals), Vocalist for Days Away and Good Old War. Even in the absence of production, they are one of the scene’s most intriguing bands, having become a major pioneer in the search for new modes of musical expression and meaning. After a decade in a half, the hardcore bunch has released a four-track EP titled “APESHIT”, and is literally 20 minuets of sporadic and sensational post-hardcore. Twanging riffs, bubbling, synths, unnerving whispers and powerful yelps fill your mind and your soul. A wonderful concoction of everything you didn’t even know you needed. With just four songs, it’s the perfect kind of comeback release; it sounds like a culmination of everything on the first three records, and captures the evolution of the music group over the past 14 years Perfectly capturing the essence of humanity, what it means to live, to fail, to love, and to fall; melodically wrapped up and shared through messy breakdowns and wonderful voices.