Roger Clyne & PH rock it in Rocky Point

Any time Roger Clyne comes to Rocky Point, a musical extravaganza ensues. This past weekend was no different as he and fellow Peacemaker PH Naffah drew faithful fans to our shores once again for a 3-day affair.

The music began on a breezy Friday evening at JJ’s Cantina in Cholla Bay, with the tide rising just beyond the bar’s terraced balconies under a star-filled moonless night. With a slightly later than expected start, singer/songwriter and Peacemaker touring support man Jason Boots took the stage first with his guitar and down-home lyrics, including Stretch it Out and Fireman, to get the crowd warmed up. Boots, who is familiar to performing on JJ’s stage, laid the groundwork for the soulful, sultry, sensual sounds of the Tempe indie funk rock group Black Carl and the amazing voice of Emma Pew. Pew, along with bandmates John Krause, Chad Leonard, Matt Noakes, and Ian Woodward climbed up on stage and shortly thereafter had everyone entranced in their astonishing bluesy-rhythm funk belted out over the Sea of Cortez. One Black Carl CD later, we headed back to casa.

By Saturday night, the soft October breeze had subsided and the starlit sky now shone over Wrecked at the Reef where everything was set for Roger Clyne and PH Naffah’s intimate acoustic duo show, in front of a sold out crowd of about 500. This time, Black Carl opened up and Pew’s vocals were warmly welcomed by the Peacemaker crowd (though, truth be told, the speakers were better on the patio at the outset). In addition to their own funky lyrics, the band added in awesome renditions of Paul Simon’s Cecilia and Sam Cooke’s Bring it on Home to Me. By the time Emma crooned the group’s own Dirty Wine, couples were on their feet, dancing, and feeling the love.

Next up was the main event; Roger Clyne and PH Naffah took the stage and launched right into Wanted from The Refreshments days and the faithful crowd sang right along. With Roger sitting on a stool, and PH atop a cajón with an array of percussion instruments in front of him, the duo were up close and personal as they made their rounds through tunes traversing the desert landscapes of Arizona to Mexico and back again. With tequila intervals in between songs, offered in flasks and shot glasses from the crowd, each melody was met with boot stomping, cut-off jean short hip-shaking, straw hat wearing head bobbing approval. Roger enjoyed introducing everyone to his “fun machine,” a keyboard with (for lack of a better word) techno beats. The crowd surged toward the stage with the surprise appearance of special guest, Nick Scropos. Scropos, bassist from the Peacemakers who had been “on paternity leave” since just after this past June’s Circus Mexicus, joined the duo on stage for a mini Peacemakers reunion. I was personally thrilled, and thrown back into nostalgia, when Roger, PH, and Scropos ended the set with a great cover of Violent Femmes’ Kiss Off. Once back on stage, and following a rousing Mekong Here’s to Life, RC and PH pleased the crowd by ending on Green and Dumb, but only after inviting everyone down to the malecón the next day for a free spur of the moment show at Sr. Amigo’s.

Sunday morning at noon is where the story picks up again. For the first time ever, Roger’s tunes came to the Malecón with a special free mini-set of RC and PH under the mega-palapa of Sr. Amigo’s. With Bloody Marys, hangover cervezas, plates of seafood and spectacular views of shrimp boats off the balcony, the mid-sized crowd enjoyed the fun spirited performance of the two who easily joked with each other throughout the set. A call from the crowd for José vs. Jack (also one of my personal favorites) off RCPM’s Honky Tonk Union was graciously heeded, while every now and then PH would readjust duct tape on his cajón or fastened to a tambourine to his right foot. When the music came to an end, Roger encouraged everyone to drop by the malecón curios shops to look for scorpion rings. The Malecón gig was great, and a fabulous way of bringing Peacemakers down into town following a great weekend on the beach – good for local businesses too!

Extra highlights from the Sr. Amigo’s RC / PH mini-set were dates for upcoming Rocky Point shows in 2013!  Get your calendars ready, as January Jam (weekend extravaganza, wouldn’t you know since RC likes to keep the music going for days) is planned for Jan 25th – 27th and Circus Mexicus is set for June 6th – 9th!

Gracias Roger, PH, Jason Boots, Mexican Moonshine y Black Carl…hasta la próxima!

For more information on everything Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, check:  www.azpeacemakers.com and for Mexican Moonshine be sure to visit: www.mexicanmoonshine.com

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