concert review: hippie sabotage

SEPT. 16, 2015

On a Wednesday night I went to an underground concert in downtown Phoenix. But it was literally underground. My friend and I swayed down the sidewalk in the eerily mellow part of DTPHX – a concrete oasis, largely corporate, narrowly entertaining.

The address of the place was 130 Central. We saw 129, a gaping alleyway and 131. What the heck. We snuck down the alley way after we saw two kids smoking cigarettes – a likely Hippie Sabotage concert-goer pair – and saw a man standing outside a door. Above the door there was a skinny scribble of neon red signage and, in what looked like the handwriting in my school notebooks, it read: VALLEY BAR.


The bouncer opened the door for us and we were immediately greeted by a giant staircase. The stairs went down down down then a lady with wristbands showed us the Rose Bar through the doors to our left and the concert room through the doors straight ahead. The Rose Bar was ultra-hip; a dim-lit room surrounded by walls that were collaged with funky frames and weird portraits, paintings, etc. We sat down at the bar – I was eager to order a drink, now that I’m “of age” – and were instantly intrigued with the one-of-a-kind ceiling fixture. You know those little spinning lights babies have, that project shadows in the shape of little sheep or stars onto the wall? It was just like that but a plethora of trinkets spun slowly above us: copper figurines, metal stars and spoons twirling and methodically coming and going on the ceiling above us.

The mood was officially set. Despite the 1-too-many vodka variations of drinks, it was such a beautifully serene setting. Then we scooted out to the concert room. I would call it stage or set, but it was nothing more than a room, truly. We walked in to a handful of crazy kids, a couple cool parents, some youngsters with a mature music taste, etc.

The band, Hippie Sabotage, is probably most commonly known as the band that made a kick ass remix to that song Stay High by Tove Lo. But for me, Hippie Sabotage is the go to when I’m looking for something to hold on to, something to calm me down, something to help perpetrate my episodes of frustration, confusion, wannabe-baddie…you know those moods. When you’re in the car and you just want to feel ‘cool’? Hippie Sab is the go-to when I’m feeling crazy, mellow and/or weird. So you could say I listen to them pretty often.

I didn’t know what they looked like, how many band members there were, nada. But after we weaved our way to the front, a few accidental spills of the drinks we held so proudly, I could see the two, dazed young men standing on the semi-stage: a platform about a foot off the ground. They had hardly any stage props, just some DJ tools and a mic. The first song was aggressive as f***. I was pretty surprised, but I liked it.

In a muffled, sort-of-synthesized, deeeeeep voice the guy with his shirt off and a mop of brown, sweaty hair chanted:
and some more angsty lyrics.

They played some of my fav mellow songs too LIKE RIDIN’ SOLO…

But they also played a remix of Boom Clap by Charli XCX that was extremely notable: they completely sanded off all the pop-ness of that song and coated it in a totally new feel, softer and calmer and directed all the energy of the song to the beats rather than the slow 90s-style chant Charli echoes throughout.

they invited everyone on stage during the Stay High remix. I gave the sweaty-headed one my vodka redbull and took a billion really friendly looking photos with the other curly-topped guy.

12042957_10206331788987089_2211039794507833220_nI highly recommend you go see Hippie Sabotage if you get the chance. Tickets were only 15$ and everything from the crowd and the venue to the band and the sounds they produced were beyond worth it.


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