Benten

Opening the show was Benten. He’s an independent artist and musician from Chicago, IL. Though I’d never heard of him before, I was pleasantly surprised! His sound reminds me a bit of Steve Lacy and Dominic Fike. This, sort of, electronic –  smooth – indie wave of music. All of his songs seemed a bit short, but in a good way. It’s like he only recorded the good parts of the song. He also told us that Phoenix was the first place he had ever played his music in front of a crowd before.

“Aim”, his most listened to song on Spotify, was an obvious crowd pleaser. When he announced the song, many in the crowd cheered with excitement. They even sang along! It was very cute when he realized people knew and loved the song. He gave a nervous-excited smile, and then immediately started singing to the crowd. The song pumped everybody in the crowd up and, by the sounds of the applause afterwards, it turned some people into a fan, for sure.

He was an amazing opener for the show. The fact that it was just him and a guitar on the stage, he mimicked the same, sort of, intimacy Mickey Darling had. His music is also similar to their music, but in a softer way. Think, head bobbing over head banging. Even though he often seemed slightly nervous, he hyped the crowd up in a fantastic way. After his set, the energy was just right for Mickey Darling. And by the sound of it, he gained a few new fans – including me.

Mickey Darling

Oh, my gosh. Mickey Darling may be one of the sweetest bands I have ever seen in my life. They walked onto the barren stage and, before playing any music, went straight to the crowd and started talking fans up front. This went on for, probably 7-ish minutes. But, throughout the show, it didn’t stop. Between every song, even during songs, the boys were interacting with anyone they could. Lead Vocalist Skyler Molina oftentimes held hands with fans that were rows back, reaching over everyone. Instrumentalist Austin Medrano ended up basically becoming friends with a girl in the first row, and was smiling at everyone he could see. During “Your Looks Can’t Save You”, Molina and Medrano ran into the crowd, performing the entire number in the pit of Crescent Ballroom. A few songs in the show were done at fans request, including that one.

If they weren’t interacting with fans, they were making each other laugh. Making music with your best friend has to be an absolute blast and it’s obvious these two can’t get enough of it. 

They both are incredible hype men, to each other and the crowd. It was impossible to not be having fun, even if you didn’t know a song (which, by the volume in Crescent, sounded quite rare). The loudest point of the show, I believe, was during “Vroom Vroom” when Molina sang “I think my dad hates me, I don’t know why / It’s probably cause he found out I’m bi.” I genuinely think I felt the floor shake a bit.  They’re kind of like the 1975 for bisexual people who are haters – in the best way.

Mickey Darling’s show didn’t have crazy lights or crazy theatrics, it was just them, the crowd, and the music. It was heartwarming and one of the most fun concerts I have ever been to. They sound better live and their show felt more like a party than a concert. And while I hope their music becomes more popular, because it absolutely deserves to, I very selfishly want them to stay at smaller venues forever.

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