Mixing folk with punk, Phoenix, Arizona’s Andrew Jackson Jihad employs everything from acoustic guitar, to synthesizer, to upright bass.
Folk and punk clashed together at Backbooth Sunday afternoon as Phoenix, Arizona’s folk-punk—or should I say “Not Anti-Folk, Not Folk Punk. Probably Skate Punk, or, as lame as it sounds: Acoustic Rock”—had the crowd laughing, moshing, and swaying all at the same time. Brought on by Parafora Presents, there was no end to the manic and mayhem of the night.
But before Andrew Jackson’s two core members, Sean Bonnette and Ben Gallaty, were joined on stage with their touring banjo/keyboardist and drummer, California punk rockers, Joyce Manor, shook the ground with their thunderous call-and-response chants and kinetic in-your-face presence. The moment their first song began, Backbooth was in an uproar: bodies flailing, people climbing on each other like furniture, raised fists, and more. Barely a moment went by without at least one member of the audience finding themselves disoriented on stage with the band as they grabbed the mic and shouted the lyrics along with them. For a moment, you almost forgot they were a touring band, because their reaction felt so intimate—so local.
Stage diving and crowd surfing were not uncommon during Joyce Manor’s set.
Andrew Jackson Jihad set up on stage in a slightly different manner. The greasy, bearded members looked homeless and hippie-like, and they cluttered the stage with a banjo, a keyboard, and an upright bass. Lead singer Sean Bonnette said, “I have one favor to ask . . . we’re not Joyce Manor. Please no crowd surfing.” Everyone laughed, but they gladly seemed to comply as they found other ways of releasing their energy to the folk-punk groups fast, acoustic bursts of songs.
Including EP’s, Andrew Jackson have nearly nine releases under their discography belt. And with such an overwhelming amount of source material, it was difficult to tell exactly where some of the songs were coming. But some standout tracks, such as “Rejoice” off of People Who Can Eat People are the Luckiest People in the World received bolstering reception. Bonnette’s talk-like singing was blurry as he ripped through a few pages worth of a set list, featuring the usual subject matter of love, politics, serial killers, crystal meth, Slayer songs, and more.
Guitarist and vocalist of Joyce Manor, Barry Johnson, joined Andrew Jackson Jihad on stage for a song.
At one point, some of the members from Joyce Manor joined Jihad on stage for a few songs, incorporating more keyboards, and some tribal-like percussion on the epic, ringing swell of a song. But then all of the excitement and passion that was building up dissolved into Bonnette singing “Big Bird” a capella. “I’m afraid of God,” he sang. “I’m afraid to believe, and I’m afraid of all the loved ones that I’ve made leave. I’m afraid that my dog doesn’t love me anymore. I’m afraid of the social laziness that let Kitty Genovese die.” The show was full of bitter-sweet, tongue-in-cheek shit like that.
With no hesitation, the crowd roared for an encore. In fact, they looked ready to tear down the building if Andrew Jackson Jihad didn’t show back up on stage. Thankfully, Bonnette got back on stage to another roaring cheer, but he was shaking his head. “That’s a bad idea,” he said. “We just gave it our all.” Everyone booed at his encore refusal, but he put out his hands in self-defense and reasoned with them: “OK, we’ll play one more song . . . tomorrow in Atlanta.”
Check out some more photos from the show below and look out for Parafora Present‘s Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s at Plaza Live in Orlando’s Milk District.
Andrew Jackson Jihad:
Thu Apr 19