It's extremely refreshing when you come across a band like A R I Z O N A
, who are infectiously buoyant while delivering fun and innovative electro-pop music. They're pretty new to the game and spent 2016 working on their debut album (which will be out this year), while releasing a string of singles that have picked up tens of millions of streams on sharing platforms. The trio is on a steady uprise and they already has a strong fan base. I was able to catch A R I Z O N A at a very packed Music Hall of Williamsburg and quickly discovered that this is a band that needs to be on everyone's radar.
The band is made up of three members - Nate Esquite (guitarist), David Labuguen (keys), and Zach Hannah (vocals) - and despite the band's name, they don't hail from the west coast state. The New Jersey-based trio met in Boston and created a studio and fit in some jam session while they attended Berklee College of Music and Emerson College. After some fine-tuning, they found their niche in creating genre-bending, energetic music.
The band opened for Kevin Garrett on Tuesday night and I was extremely impressed by the number of people who were patiently waiting for their set to begin. Behind the stage was a curtain displaying the band's logo reading A R I Z O N A with the letters broken into three rows. From the moment the band walked on stage - looking shamelessly cool and confident - the venue turned into one giant dance party.
The happy energy from both the band and the crowd carried throughout their entire set. I love when you can tell how close-knit a band by their chemistry while they're on stage. It felt like we were witnessing a band that had a decade of experience performing together. They perform standing (and dancing) side-by-side with big smiles across all three of them. There's not one member of A R I Z O N A that overshadows the other.
The sunny, upbeat track, "Where I Wanna Be," was a highlight of the set. It's one of those mid-tempo songs with experimental sounds that's impossible not to bob along to. An obvious crowd favorite was their hit track "Oceans Away" which is melodic and less beat driven than their others. During "Cross My Mind," the vocalist, Zach, pointed to the crowd for help with the chorus and you could hear every person in the room shouting the words. It was incredible to witness how strong of a following A R I Z O N A already has.
A R I Z O N A will be on tour through the summer, stopping at Hangout Festival, BottleRock and Governor's Ball along the way. With the debut album on the way, I have a feeling 2017 is going to be their year.