It was around 7:30 p.m. when we made our way down Roosevelt, crossed 2nd St. and stumbled upon a group of eight guys jammin’ right next to the monOrchid bird mural we’ve all come to know and love.
What caught my eye? The sax player because a) how often do you see bands with sax players? (excluding ska or reggae bands, of course); and b) having a sax background, I’m biased.
But back to the band: They had this improvisational, off-the-cuff way of playing that I felt like we weren’t in Downtown Phoenix at all; it felt more like we were in these guys’ living room hanging out with them, watching them jam. Between the rapping and hip-hop with some sax spicing it up here and there, I thought I had these guys figured out.
And then the electric guitar came out. After a verse or two of rapping and chanting, the chorus came in full force: They were playing rock music. At this moment, I knew these guys were different, unique — and I had to know more about them.
Their name is The Color 8, made of Kal Benion (guitar), Jeremy Smith (bass), Emmett Nash (drums), Jozie (vocals), LeeWater (vocals), ClevPro (MC) and Ashton Vaughn Charles (saxophone & MC). And the way they describe themselves is on-point:
The Color 8 is a music group that is made up of different musicians and music genres to expose ourselves and others to new sounds and new perspectives.
No one genre, not a specific type of sound — and it works for them. Take a listen for yourself:
So next time you’re at First Friday, be sure to find The Color 8. Anywhere from 20-30 people at a time were hanging out enjoying their set last night, and I have a feeling their fan base will only continue to grow.