Stateside Presents




Fri, February 3, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

Valley Bar

Phoenix, AZ


Tickets at the Door

This event is 21 and over

Questions bring art to life. Songs can still ponder socio-political issues, the fragility and

isolation of the human condition, and what lies ahead for earth. Moreover, music

possesses the potential and gravitas to incite change, while reflecting the world’s faults

and follies. The Bright Light Social Hour contemplate a “Future South” on their second

full-length album, Space Is Still the Place [Frenchkiss Records]. The Austin

artists—Curtis Roush [guitar, vocals, synths], Jack O'Brien [bass, vocals, synths], Joseph

Mirasole [drums, synths]—offer a different interpretation of the space around them

throughout ten thematically connected songs. They tackle a myriad of issues head on

during tracks such as “Ghost Dance” and “Ouroboros,” while “Infinite Cities”

contemplates loneliness and “Escape Velocity” subtly hints at a orgiastic ending. The

album will pose a few questions, but you may leave with an answer or two as well.

The Bright Light Social Hour convened while Curtis and Jack attended graduate school at

the University of Texas in Austin. They released their self-titled debut in 2010 and scored

six awards at SXSW 2011 Austin Music Awards. Throughout nearly three years on the

road, they experienced the ins and outs of America, and that voyage ignited a perspective

shift. “The new album’s themes and inspirations came from touring, particularly the

southern part of the country,” explains Jack. “We couldn’t afford to stay in hotels most

nights so we were staying with a lot of people. We got to see how average young

Americans lived. We felt a lot of struggle.”

“It was shocking,” adds Curtis. “We realized how few individuals were working jobs

they felt self-actualized by to some extent. They’re pedaling for survival. Our generation

has grown up in continuous financial crises, a lot of unemployment, a lack of

opportunity, widening inequality, and pervasive issues of race, gender, and class. We’re

taking a lens to some of these gritty realities and espousing an optimistic, frontier-looking

gaze into the future.” Theirs is not just a thematic progression though. Traversing the

country and cranking tunes in the van, the collective musical palette expanded, embracing

influences as diverse as deep house icon Frankie Knuckles, dance renegades Disclosure,

Motown legends like Marvin Gaye, and Detroit Afro-rock revolutionaries Black Merda.

Everything siphoned into the vision behind Space Is Still the Place. Building a studio in

their Austin home, the boys began their musical journey in early 2013.

“We’re all ostensibly southerners,” Curtis continues. “The South has great food, a relaxed

pace, and sweet, well-mannered folk. However, a lot of issues aren’t going away. ‘Future

South’ is both an aesthetic and political statement. We’re taking forms and influences

from soul, blues, and gritty southern music and ushering them forward. ‘Future South’

evinces the south can be a vibrant egalitarian place. You can love barbecue and not be


“The dichotomy exists musically,” says Jack. “Some songs mirror these harsh truths with

guitars and blues energy. Meanwhile, the dreamier electronic-influenced moments are

about escaping those dark realities and going to a place symbolized by space.” Opener

“Sweet Madelene,” which Curtis dubs “the most southern rock of the bunch,” tempers

guitars thick enough to rustle tumbleweed with a bombastic beat and emotive, soulful


“Slipstream” could be considered “a death train for the ego,” acting as a clarion call to let

go of isolation and join the communal struggle under a haze of hypnotic delay and

haunting textures. The ethereal “Dreamlove” blasts off on a synth swell, conjuring the

image of what Jack likes to describe as “waking up in a hospital on a spaceship.”

The propulsive bass riff of “Ghost Dance” augments its magnetic pull. “At this point, the

record trajectory breaks out of the atmosphere and moves into the stratosphere,” Jack

goes on. “It’s a call to the community. We want to encourage using the power of

togetherness to effect change.”

Their version of a love song is the dreamy and strangely danceable “Sea of the Edge,”

painting a lunar portrait that’s infectious and inviting. After the pensive and potent

“Aperture”, “Ouroboros” directly compares those stuck in that cycle of banality to the

mythical snake who eats its own tail over buzzing guitars.

The album’s first release “Infinite Cities” coasts ahead on a driving beat before building

into one of its sweetest refrains. Accompanied by a transfixing video, it bristles with a

bright energy. “Now, we’ve been away from our families and the ones we love so

much—literally gone on the road and figuratively away in Austin while making the

album,” states Curtis. “We still found a sense of hope in that distance, becoming closer

and reimagining what community is. It’s like finding a way home no matter where you


“The Moon” and “Escape Velocity” provide a subtly hopeful dénouement, leaving

listeners with breathy optimism. Jacks reveals, “You wake up from that dream, realizing

humanity may end someday, but you still have to work toward progress anyway.”

Ultimately, The Bright Light Social Hour will unite people. “We’re all together, but we

have a lot of individual power,” concludes Jack. “We want every listener in the audience

to have his or her own experience—but together.”

Jo leaves off, “As far as the south goes, it can be a place that exists and participates in the

future. I’d love to see more southern bands think about the future. They respect the past

so much. At one point, those classic artists forged new paths, but we’re treading the same

paths they did fifty years ago. Musical generations passed by and respected their elders so

much they forgot to kill them.”
On the verge of releasing their first EP, the four-piece alternative rock band, THE REAL FITS, has quickly made a presence in the Arizona music scene. With a new band as the goal, Jared Wood moved from the Bay Area to Phoenix in early 2015 to join forces with lifelong friend and brother-in-law Blair Furmanski. After months of writing and searching for the right members, the band began to take shape in the fall of 2015 when the two met Raquel Willand. With her addition, the sound of THE REAL FITS immediately began to take form. Shortly after, Nicholas Smith was added to complete the band lineup.

Their live shows have captured the attention of audiences and venues across the Phoenix valley. The band's on-stage energy is one of their most recognizable attributes. With instrument rotations occurring regularly on stage, each member's style and passion is apparent. With melodic, driving guitars, steady bass lines and commanding drum beats, the music alone is enough to hook you. Willand has consistently received comparisons to female vocalist greats while still being completely unique and 100% her own.

THE REAL FITS will begin touring nationally in early 2017
Venue Information:
Valley Bar
130 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ, 85004