Shady Park has a special place in my heart. And really all of our hearts, to be honest. The unique bar, restaurant, and music venue is nestled in downtown Tempe, deep in the middle of ASU territory. If you like electronic music and live anywhere in the general Phoenix area, you have probably found your way into the coolest outdoor venue Arizona has to offer. If you have not yet, let this be the sign that you need to check out Shady Park ASAP! If you dig ramen and pizza at all, get to the event a little early and grab a table inside for a dope pre-show meal. This weekend, Shady brought us an absolutely bonkers lineup, complete with stellar production and sound, and Manic Focus brought all of the lasers and funk.
The best thing about Shady Park is that, no matter the show, the crowd and vibes are always so on point. Nights can get a little chilly in the desert, but Shady Park has heaters scattered throughout. Friends and booze keep the night warm for everyone. This past Saturday, the venue filled up early and quickly. Vendors had gems, jewels, and pins displayed on the back tables. Gestalt Theory brought out some of their best trippy visuals.
Dusted. began the night with energy and got us all moving. When Limbo came on stage, there was already a decent crowd formed and dancing. He never fails to impress with his soon-to-be-headlining sound. The bass he brought was phenomenal. Limbo is a local we are always stoked to see on any flier! After his set came the mighty Balkan Bump. This relatively new instrumentalist and producer/arranger melds brass with bass and we are so here for it. Heavily influenced and backed by Gramatik himself, Balkan Bump is bringing a new form of funk to our scene. His set proved that he is here to change the game for good. The night flowed together perfectly; Balkan Bump exited the stage with his trumpet just in time for Marvel Years to enter with his guitar. One of our personal favorites, Marvel Years, was someone we had traveled all the way to Iowa to catch!
By this time in the night, our feet already hurt from dancing so much. But when Manic Focus took the stage, we felt completely refreshed and ready to go. Now, the visuals and production leading up to his set were killer, but when those lasers came out…people lost their minds. Lasers in Shady Park create such an intimate atmosphere that is truly unlike anything else. The trees catch them and send them sparkling off of their leaves. Sometimes, you can even reach your hand up and catch one in your palm. Last time we saw Manic Focus at Shady, the man annhilated the place with Maddy O’Neal. But this time, something about those lasers created a completely different type of experience. I can’t be the only one that gets totally hypnotized by them, right?!
You know you have found the perfect venue when yes, the music is great, but all of the things around you are almost even better. Shady Park has some of the best lineups in Arizona, and that is saying a lot considering the world-class festivals Relentless Beats brings to the Phoenix area several times a year. On Saturday, we were completely surrounded by familiar faces and friends, delicious food, stellar production and sound, and of course, righteous beats. The warmth of Shady Park totally surpasses that of any other venue I have ever visited. Shady Park is just the kind of place that feels like home, and every time we walk through the doors, that feeling gets even stronger. See you there next time, friends!
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Feature photo by Joshua Andrews.
Life is all about finding perfect souls to dance with. You can find me following the music.
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