I unfortunately missed my chance to see A R I Z O N A at their sold out show in San Diego, so when I saw they were going on tour again I jumped at the opportunity. Tickets went extremely fast for their limited tour, but I was lucky enough to snatch up tickets to their Portland show at the Holocene.

I’ve been following their music since “Let Me Touch Your Fire” found its way to me a couple years back. Since then, I’ve kept a close eye on the trio from New Jersey. Yes, A R I Z O N A is from New Jersey. What a time to be alive! The band has found a sweet little pocket in between electronic, indie, dance and rock where they thrive and continued to deliver bop after bop leading to their debut album, GALLERY.

The quaint, ultra-modern venue, Holocene, was the ideal space to see them. Small enough to have a great view but large enough to hold the crowd that had gathered in Portland on that rainy night.

A R I Z O N A, aka Zach Hannah, David Labuguen, and Nate Esquite, casually walked out and got right to it with the synth heavy “Annie.” Vocalist Zach Hannah’s signature “oooh ooo” ad libs came at full force and the audience was definitely here for it. The saccharine “Electric Touch” was up next and, as a closet romantic, my inner fire lit right up to Zach crooning at me (us) from the stage. Right after he finished begging me to take him back, the band led into the driving ballad “I Was Wrong,” which is runner up when it comes to three word phrases I want to hear from someone.

I’d always enjoyed the B-side, “People Crying Every Night” but it wasn’t necessarily my “go-to” A R I Z O N A track. Perhaps it was the state of the world, but that night it resonated fully and came close to stealing the coveted position of fave of the night. As misery loves company, it played an important role to remind us that everyone struggles and goes through their share of trials and tribulations, so we should all make the effort to BE NICE. The live drum arrangement and the desperation in Hannah’s vocals showcased a beautiful vulnerability that doesn’t often get a spotlight. Refreshing, to say the least, with the abundance of fragile masculinity crumbling at every corner *Liz Lemon Epic Eyeroll*.

Back to my aforementioned fave, “Let Me Touch Your Fire”…this song is atmospheric, moody and gorgeous. It’s a little “In the Air Tonight,” a little bit “Bringing On the Heartbreak” and a lot bit A M A Z I N G. Zach explained that it was the first song they ever recorded with the group in some dank basement and what initially got them started. It’s so good that Major Lazer/Justin Bieber (or whatever team wrote it) totally ripped off part of the melody for the 2016 hit “Cold Water.” That’s my opinion, but listen for yourself and be the judge.

Every song in the set was great and, with GALLERY being the incredible debut that it is, it’s wasn’t hard to believe it would translate over live. Lucky for me, it certainly did. Looking forward to their next release and tour already!

You can hear A R I Z O N A’s music featured in our Core programs: Power Hits, Kinetic and Trendspot. Pick up GALLERY out now via Atlantic Records.

– Submitted by Tristan Bolden, Music Design