I was surprised when I met up with the members of Snake! Snake! Snakes! at a café in downtown Phoenix. Having recently caught the band live, I thought there must be at least a couple members missing as only four gentlemen awaited my arrival and I clearly remembered seeing many more people crowding the stage.
Turns out, the other folk that eagerly took to the stage were not members, just fans inspired to belt out the words they knew by heart. The audience who held position on the floor joined in as well. It seemed everyone in the bar that night memorized the entire set list and, at least for the moment, became part of Snake! Snake! Snakes!.
Some bands don’t manage the many members that crowd their stage as well as they ought. Another band performing that same evening suffered a convoluted sound from over-enthusiastic, extraneous musicians and repetitious jam-outs. Snakes! uses each memberin a precise manner to create rich layers of sound cooperatively that are both discreet and expansive.
Jon Messenger (guitar/vocals), Christopher Sanchez (bass/vocals), and George Rodriguez (piano/organ/bells) have chalked up more than half a decade to the Snakes cause with the “newest” member David Cooper (percussion) stepping into ranks two years ago. Perhaps the unity heard in the band, both live and recorded, comes from their singularity in focus. In such an incestuous music scene like Phoenix it is all too common to see one musician on stage several times in the same night… not necessarily a problem, but one can help but
wonder if the uniquely fused music created by Snakes! is the result of undivided attention.
Aside from their part-Arcade Fire-part-Wolf Parade-still original-musicality, Snakes! has another stepping stone in place to their future. From the opening lines of the album, “We can die slowly in a crowded apartment/or live our life long upon a city at night/ while others grow cold as their city is burning/ we can shed light on a city at night,” Jon Messenger establishes himself as a lyricist of worth. Admittedly, there are moments when the lyrics approach the puerile, but Messenger’s emotionally-charged delivery reveals a thoughtful darkness and maintained
Snake! Snake! Snakes! is set to release their self-titled album on August 11 at the Rhythm Room. Sure to be an indie rock ruckus for the ages, be there or be square. You can check out the album beforehand on digital release so you too can sing to your heart’s content with both the tried-and-true and newfound fans.