Photo by Camden Andl | NEEDTOBREATHE lead singer, Bear Rinehart, performs song “Difference Maker,” donning a mirror covered jacket. NEEDTOBREATHE performed Sept. 24 at Comerica Theater in Phoenix.
By Camden Andl ’19
Folk inspired bands NEEDTOBREATHE, Johnnyswim and Forest Blakk performed Sept. 24 at Comerica Theater in Phoenix.
Forest Blakk, a solo urban-folk artist from Montreal Canada, opened first, playing songs from his recently released EP, “Minutes.”
Before performing “Heaven’s Telephone,” Blakk opened up to the crowd about the song’s meaning, written after the passing of his cousin from cancer, with whom Blakk was very close to.
Blakk asked the audience to raise their hand if they knew someone affected by cancer, and received warm and encouraging applause when he became emotional before performing his last two songs.
After Blakk, husband and wife duo Johnnyswim, comprised of Abner and Amanda Sudano, daughter of famous R&B artist, Donna Summer, performed an extremely energetic and upbeat set.
The Nashville couple played songs off of their albums “Diamonds” and “Georgica Pond,” and their EP’s “Summertime Romance” and “Goodbye Road.”
Throughout their folk, R&B, and blues inspired music, Johnnyswim exuded an obvious affinity not only for the stage, but each other—love was a main theme in both their songs and the comments between them.
At one point in their set, Johnnyswim ran into the crowd with a microphone stand and guitar and set up to sing in the crowd.
Lead singer Abner Sudano gave the man seated to his left the mic and asked what he would tell the crowd if he could say anything. The man, obviously not chosen by coincidence proceeded to propose to his girlfriend, serenaded by Johnnyswim’s “Ring the Bells” afterward.
After all the emotions conveyed from Blakk and Johnnyswim, it was time for NEEDTOBREATHE to take Comerica’s stage to play for a crowd they revealed was the largest they had performed to in Phoenix to date.
NEEDTOBREATHE opened their set with an unexpected, although popular song, “Devil’s Been Talkin’” from their 2011 album, “The Reckoning.”
Throughout their songs, NEEDTOBREATHE utilized screens behind them, not only projecting live footage of the concert itself, but also displaying superimposed animation and lyrics synced with the stage’s lights.
They then continued to play the title track of the tour album, “HARD LOVE,” followed by other songs from their five past albums.
The band played two covers during the show, with lead guitarist Bo Rinehart taking the lead on “Bossa Nova Baby” by Elvis Presley, running around the stage and dancing similarly to “the king of rock and roll.”
During this cover, Rinehart’s older brother and lead singer, Bear, disappeared, only to reappear suspended in the air wearing a jacket covered in small mirrors, the light reflecting off of him like a disco ball for the song “Difference Maker.”
With this song, NEEDTOBREATHE transitioned from exciting rock songs with energetic guitar solos and flashing lights to a more intimate acoustic set.
The band finished their main set with their song “Forever on Your Side” featuring Johnnyswim.
After a three minutes or so of applause, the band came back out to play their most popular song, “Brother,” followed by “Drive All Night.”
They left the stage to cheers from an extremely satisfied crowd, ending a fantastic night at Comerica Theater.
“Devil’s Been Talkin’”
“State I’m In”
“Let’s Stay Home Tonight”
“DON’T BRING THAT TROUBLE”
“MONEY & FAME”
“Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now”
“Bossa Nova Baby’ (Elvis Presley cover)
“NO EXCUSES” (Acoustic)
“The House of the Rising Sun” (Acoustic Animals cover)
“Lay ‘Em Down”
“Forever On Your Side” (with Johnnyswim)
“Drive All Night”