The house lights dimmed and the stage was illuminated with pinks and whites. The backdrop displayed The Interrupters’ logo three times. The stage lights began to circle as circus music played in the background. The crowd cheered in anticipation as Jesse Bivona, the ska punk band’s drummer, was the first to run out and greet the eager fans during a February 27 show at The Van Buren.
He began drumming to the beat of the circus song’s whimsical rhythm, and his two brothers, Justin and Kevin Bivona, ran to the stage and hopped up on two boxes. They waved and urged the crowd to scream louder.
Kevin, the band’s guitarist, said in the voice of a ringmaster, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to the show. We are so excited to be here and welcome the one, the only, miss Aimee Interrupter.”
Donning a black leather jacket and red lipstick, Aimee “Interrupter” Allen, the band’s vocalist, emerged while grinning and waving at the crowd.
That passion and energy carried throughout the evening.
In a recent interview with The Entertainer! Magazine, Kevin said he and his bandmates would try to “cram as much good vibes in an hour and 15 minutes as possible.” He was not joking. Throughout the evening, every time a song finished, the band would jump into the next one.
The group kicked off its set with “Title Holder,” the first track from its latest album, “Fight the Good Fight.” Once that song was over, the next riff took fans into “By My Side,” from the band’s 2016 album, “Say It Out Loud.”
Fans bounced on their toes, smiles beaming and screams growing louder as Allen hopped off the stage and onto the main floor. Still singing, she stood on the barrier and reached out to the crowd, grabbing fans’ hands. She passionately looked at the crowd and nodded along as people sang with her.
The crowd encompassed a wide variety of people. There were families with teenage kids wearing noise-reducing headphones, geared in their latest band T-shirts with tour dates stamped on the back. Then there were the hardcore punk-rock fans with large blue mohawks who wore black leather and buckles, and looked ready to mosh. However, whether they were a 13-year-old boy or a 26-year-old punk rocker, they all seemed to know the words to every song.
Tickets were still being sold at the box office the day of the show, but the room felt sold out. The pit was hot and sweaty from all the dancing, and the crowd was smooshed together, which made it challenging to grab phones from pockets or raise arms and clap. But no one seemed phased by the tightness of the room; rather, they were intoxicated by The Interrupters’ engaging performance.
After three songs, the Bivona brothers took off the blazers they had been wearing, revealing similar-patterned, short-sleeve, button-up T-shirts. They kicked off “Take Back the Power,” from their 2014 self-titled debut album.
When the group finally took a breath, Kevin said, “We’re only a few songs in and we’ve toured many times, but this is the most fun show we have ever done. This is the first stop on our tour, and Phoenix, you are setting the bar high.”
The moment didn’t last long, though. After a few sips of water, Allen belted out in her raspy, energetic voice, “She got… arrested,” and Kevin immediately began playing the chords for “She Got Arrested,” from “Say It Out Loud.”
The group was playful and upbeat, with bassist Justin running over to the other side of the stage and dancing. His feet kicked to the beat as he sang along and looked out into the audience. Meanwhile, Kevin and Allen danced on boxes up front.
“Phoenix, we love you so much we actually have been here before. How many of you guys have seen us before?” Kevin asked at one point.
A large portion of the crowd raised their hands (probably bumping people on the way up) and cheered.
“And how many of you are seeing us for the first time tonight?” Kevin followed up.
What seemed like the rest of those in the venue raised their hands, erupting with noise.
Continuing with the show, Kevin announced a game. He raised his hand and split the crowd.
“This is about half,” he said. “I want you guys to split down the middle to make a walkway of sorts.”
The whole crowd shuffled, attempting to make a gap that would suffice.
“What we’re going to do is, Aimee is going to count to four, and when she does I want you all to fill the gap we’ve created,” Kevin said.
Allen counted to four to introduce “Gave You Everything,” and the crowd launched into a giant mosh pit and dance party, with fans jumping up and down. Allen hopped back down to the floor, running back and forth as she grabbed the hands of anyone she came across. Meanwhile, Justin and Kevin stood on their boxes, dancing and singing to each other, as well as back to the crowd.
As the end of the show neared, Kevin said, “You may have noticed, but our ticket prices were a little more expensive this year. That is because one dollar of every purchase goes to MusiCares. Thank you guys for being a part of something beautiful.”
MusiCares is a charity that, according to its website, “provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. MusiCares’ services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergences.”
The show closed out with “She’s Kerosene,” and the band jumped and danced with the same energy that was present at the beginning.
The Interrupters ultimately left people chanting, “One more song!”
So, the group ran back out, with Kevin thanking the crowd again.
“We could not think of a better place to start this tour than Phoenix. This one’s for you,” he said.
The Interrupters kicked off an encore performance with “The Valley,” from “Say It Out Loud.” Though the song was written about the San Fernando Valley, the band gave it an Arizona twist by including Tempe, Phoenix, Mesa, Glendale and other Arizona cities in the lyrics.
At the true end of the show, Kevin said, “This music is about unity and love. You all are a part of our family now.”
By My Side
Take Back the Power
She Got Arrested
Easy on You
Friend Like Me
Gave You Everything
Rumors and Gossip
On a Turntable
Got Each Other