LIVE REVIEW: Foxy Shazam at El Rey Theatre

The lights go purple and the crowd goes wild.

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Gonzo Tour
Foxy Shazam Photo by: Jordon Loope

Foxy Shazam has a cult following. If you have ever been to a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), you have an inkling of what attending a Foxy show feels like. The whole crowd loves the music, the whole crowd knows the music, and the whole crowd cannot wait to watch Foxy Shazam play the music.

Stop Light Observations emerge from the dirty south with a captivating performance in direct support of Foxy Shazam.  The South Carolina born gents have everything required for a good time: a saxophone, a mean violin, a cape wearing keyboardist and a vocalist from the choir of angels. They rock the house in a way that only southerners can.  With groovy bass lines and smooth guitar licks enhanced by a rich sax and a playful drum beat, their sensual grittiness seduces the whole crowd. Besides myself, I am positive they gained quite a few new fans that night. After some dirty rock and roll, the eclectic crowd eagerly awaited the headlining act: The legendary Foxy Shazam.

Foxy Shazam - Photo by Jordon Loope
Foxy Shazam – Photo by Jordon Loope

As the red curtains of El Rey Theatre open and the lights dim, the audience erupts with excitement.  The stage lights all shine that familiar purple hue from the “Tragic Thrill” music video, basking the theater in color. With the purple haze covering the stage, Eric Nallys voice echoes throughout the theater and Foxy goes Gonzo. As expected, they flawlessly play through the entire album. As Nally previusly told Substream Magazine, “the album is meant to be played live.” He tells the truth. Parts of Gonzo make more sense on stage where the audience can see Eric’s expressions as he sings or watch keyboardist Sky White jump up and down as his fingers furiously dance on the ivory keys.  Every aspect of the show illustrates Gonzo in ways that only the audio simply fall short.

The album, arguably Foxy Shazam’s calmest musical masterpiece, comes to life on the stage. Seeing it performed brings it inescapable energy and unforgettable appeal. The audience sings along and enjoys the set, yet seldom looks away. Watching Foxy play provides a significant amount of enjoyment. Sure, people danced and threw some fists in the air, but mostly, people simply watched. They let Gonzo sink in. Slowly and methodically, the crowd experiences each song in a whole new way from listening through their headphones.

Foxy Shazam
Eric Nally- Photo by Jordon Loope

Trumpet master Alex Nauth resonates with unfathomable high energy. He not only oozes with passion as he plays the horns, but watching him sing back-up to Nally, one sees his that he feels every line uttered. He puts on an excellent show, something seemingly impossible next to Nally’s untouchable stage presence. Watching them honestly leaves you speechless. Daisy and Lauren Turner, who switch instruments for Gonzo, each play both bass and guitar with unique grace. The seamless switch brings a fresh aspect to the band while confirming the fact that each member of Foxy Shazam excels at his instrument.

Gonzo Tour
Foxy Shazam – Photo by Jordon Loope

Gonzo comes to an end and the band departs from the stage to change clothes only to return as the Foxy Shazam that we originally fell in love with. Daisy and Lauren switch back to their original axes, Alex loses his shirt all together and Nally summersaults onto stage in a striped outfit fit for a jester (or kid in his PJs, whichever you prefer). In original Foxy fashion, the band plays fan favorites like “I Like it” and “Oh, Julian.” The crowd snaps out of their hypnotic, Gonzo-induced state of bewilderment and goes absolutely insane. Every single audience member smiles ear to ear and the El Rey Theatre fills with absolute joy. Eric Nally tumbles around the stage as Sky pounces on top of his keyboard… just like always.

If you miss the Gonzo tour, make sure to see Foxy Shazam the next time they come to a city near you. You will not regret it. If you have never listened to them, at least go to the show for Eric Nally’s wonderful one liners. Where does he come up with those gems? The world may never know.