Foxy Shazam, Stop Light Observations & Maddy Ellwanger @ Summit Music Hall, 7/26/14

Photos & Review: Foxy Shazam, Stop Light Observations & Maddy Ellwanger
Featuring: Foxy Shazam, Stop Light Observations & Maddy Ellwanger
Summit Music Hall, Denver, CO. 7/26/14

Photos by: 
Shannon Shumaker
Review by: Dom Vigil

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Going into a Foxy Shazam show, I already knew I was in for interesting night full of unique artists, crazy performances, and a diverse crowd. And sure enough, all of my expectations were met and exceeded by the end of the night.

It was a late show, with only three acts performing, and before the first artist even took the stage, I was intrigued. Judging by the artwork on Maddy Ellwanger’s banner and the tambourine (with bits and pieces of a baby doll attached to it) sitting on the stage, her performance was not one to be missed. And within the first few notes of the Colorado native’s first song, the dark lights really setting the eerie mood on stage, I was sold.

The thing that really hooked me about Maddy Ellwanger’s performance was her voice. Stage gimmicks, props and everything else aside, this woman is absolutely talented. Though the vocals were a little bit too low for my liking, her chirps and coos and the way that she really pushed her voice throughout her entire set was enough to captivate not only me, but everyone else in the crowd, even prompting a few shouted “I love you”s from some guys in the front. Maddy Ellwanger was honestly just the perfect choice of support for a band like Foxy Shazam – she was just the right mix of strange and talented that kept everyone on their toes and had me cheering on by the end of her set as she threw glitter into the crowd.

The second act to grace the stage was jazzy South Carolina group, Stop Light Observations. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this band, but I was definitely excited to see what they had to offer, especially after such a cool opening act. Thankfully, Stop Light Observations didn’t disappoint. Though their genre of music isn’t really something that I find myself listening to very often, it was hard not to bob my head along with Stop Light Observations’ mellow, laid back and groovy tunes. And while many of the band’s songs started off with a slower, almost 70’s feel to them, there were also these amazing explosive parts during their set where everything just really seemed to come together, eliciting a great response from the crowd.

Though the venue wasn’t anywhere near being full when I first arrived to the show, by the end of Stop Light Observations’ set, there were a lot more fans in the crowd, bobbing their heads along to the music and cheering the band on. And while the show wasn’t anywhere near sold out, everyone was more than excited and super into the music, buzzing with anticipation for the headliners as soon as Stop Light Observations left the stage.

Having seen Foxy Shazam a few times before, I had to say, I was definitely excited for them to take the stage, much like many of their die-hard fans in the crowd. Soon, the lights were dimming and the crowd was screaming and finally, Foxy took the stage. And within seconds into the title track of their new record, Gonzo, I was reminded why I love Foxy Shazam so much. It didn’t take long before vocalist, Eric Nally was dancing around the stage, tossing the mic,  and doing summersaults and handstands, much to the appreciation of his fans.

Foxy Shazam started off the night by playing Gonzo in its entirety, and though the album itself is pretty mellow compared to Foxy’s other music, Eric Nally was anything but. He still managed to throw himself around the stage like he always has, really putting on a show. The only downside to the band playing Gonzo all the way through (besides the fact that I don’t know their new songs as well as I know their old ones) was the fact that the album doesn’t have as much energy live. While Nally still kept himself busy on stage, the music itself just wasn’t as hard-hitting as the band’s older tracks. That being said, though, the crowd was still very into it, and the band’s die-hard fans were still singing along with every word.

After Gonzo, Foxy Shazam took a short break, coming back after a few minutes wearing far fewer clothes than they were in the first half of their set. With a call for crowd participation, Foxy launched right into the first song of the second half of their set, “Bombs Away” and then the party really started. Within moments, fans were dancing, jumping around and singing their hearts out along with the band, and in a way, it was like watching a completely different set.

Easily one of the high points in Foxy Shazam’s set was during “Holy Touch” when the band paused halfway through the song, everyone on stage completely freezing still, for a good thirty seconds, while the crowd went absolutely wild. It was like an explosion when the music finally kicked back in, launching right into another chorus.

Despite a few minor setbacks in Foxy Shazam’s set (I was definitely a little bummed that it was hard to see keyboardist, Sky White’s crazy antics from where he was situated at the back of the stage) the band still killed it. It was also incredibly refreshing to go to a show and not have my view blocked by multiple smartphones in the air, recording videos of the band’s set. No, Foxy’s fans were more into the music than taking blurry pictures of the band, and if that’s not a testament to how captivating and amazing Foxy Shazam is live, then I don’t know what is. Foxy Shazam more than proved why they have such a devoted following and I was reminded why I love this band so much.