CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (June 30, 2013) — Most people didn’t know what to expect when 7-member PHOX stepped out onto the stage, each person in the band radiating with a clear sense of individuality. One might think the group was assembled over the years through a series of chance encounters and band tryouts; but as lead vocalist Monica Martin reveals, the entire group has been friends since high school in Baraboo, WI.
The band creates a whimsical feel by adding whistling, hand clapping, a banjo and wind instruments as overlay to many of their otherwise guitar heavy songs; while Monica’s vocals (and style) evoke the image of early female blues and Motown singers. Solid lyrics and a warm feeling that makes you want to sway back and forth in your chair round out the band’s unique sound; they are the kind of songs that you like more and more with each time you hear them.
Monica Martin – vocals
Matt Roberts – keyboard
Zach Johnston – banjo
Dave Roberts – drummer
Matt Holmen – guitar/trumpet
Cheston Van Huss – guitar
Jason Krunnfusz – guitar
They were a joy to watch and the closeness of the band members was obvious, as they were often seen singing to one another, rather than to the crowd. Monica was a beautiful picture of demureness, seeming yet a little unaccustomed to the spotlight, as the band has only been touring for a year. Guitarist and trumpet player Matthew Holmen was quite the opposite; always with a quirky smile on his face and a dance in his step. Monica isn’t the only one in the group with a pretty voice, which we discovered when three other members stepped forward to join her in a performance of “No Lion.”
This show was the final in the band’s tour with Hey Marseilles, and one of the highlights of the evening was when PHOX joined the other band on stage for an exhilarating version the song, “Rio,” which received a standing ovation from the crowd. I think more ovations will be in order for PHOX, as they have already been featured on NPR’s “All Songs Considered” and are creating a lot of buzz on their tour.
Written by Katie Hamre, find more of her brilliance at Find Wholeness.