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Gallery & Review: A R I Z O N A in San Francisco, CA

Electropop group A R I Z O N A brought a rousing, refreshingly sincere set to The Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. The rapidly rising band sold out two shows in one night in a matter of minutes, and the anticipation was palpable in the at-capacity venue. The excited buzz of the crowd erupted into cheers as the room dimmed and crew members pulled sheets off of the large light columns at the back of the stage. A deep, atmospheric bass began the show as the band’s members entered the stage to a chorus of cheers, the crowd already setting the tone for the evening.

Synchronized lights played along with the set, illuminating the stage with mesmerizing patterns and complementing the depth of each song’s composition. A R I Z O N A followed up “Annie” with one of their most popular singles, “Electric Touch”. Recognition from the audience was instantaneous, greeting the band with a swell of cheers and raucous energy. It would be a theme that would repeat throughout the night; essentially every transition between songs would be met with momentary quiet, a collective pause to anticipate what was next, followed by almost explosive excitement.

A R I Z O N A met the audience’s energy with equal animation, bouncing around the stage during “Where I Wanna Be” and joining the crowd on the floor for “Feed the Beast”. The band’s vocalist Zach Hannah repeatedly thanked the audience throughout the night with genuine sincerity that poured throughout the performance. Every note and lyric was delivered with the intensity and emotion of a musician truly moved by his audience. “Brave Enough” burst forth with unabashed joy to accompany its irresistible melody, while emotional “Are You” was a standout of the evening. Hannah explained that the song was inspired by his father, who had lost his battle with lung cancer. “We’re just kids doing our best, and I’d like to give that up to my dad real quick,” he told the crowd before launching into a delicate trumpet solo. The song’s passionate surge into the chorus was undeniably moving, a melancholically sweet tribute adding depth to a largely upbeat set.

Throughout the night, A R I Z O N A kept the audience on its toes, even including a cover of Drake’s “Passionfruit”. True to form, the band executed a compelling cover-expertly transitioning from chilled out bass to powerful vocals. During a break between songs, Hannah explained that the band, including Nathan Esquite on guitar and David Labuguen on keys, had originally been solo producers and songwriters. A R I Z O N A’s origin is evident in their music, incorporating eclectic sounds and poetic lyrics for a truly unique sound. From the soaring ballad “Oceans Away” to the explosive drums of “Running”, A R I Z O N A brings their consistent, compelling style to each performance.

Rounding out the night was “Ain’t Gonna Leave” and “Cross My Mind”. Between the songs was a soaring atmospheric instrumental interlude, in which Hannah entered the audience to further connect with the crowd. He joyously returned, literally crawling back onstage for “Cross My Mind”. The set’s raucous finale was a veritable dance party, every audience member jumping and dancing to the thumping beat. By the final notes, one thing was abundantly clear: A R I Z O N A is here to stay.

About Dana Jacobs

I write about music and live shows and other fun things. Strong feelings about pugs, Halloween, and burritos. Currently zooming around northern California, with frequent stops in LA.

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