Her T-shirt poses a concise question — “Who the fuck is Renee Phoenix?” Well, for those living under that rock…
There I was, sizzling like a slab of Jimmy Dean Pure Pork Sausage — along with thousands of other sweat-soaked enthusiasts, basking in the sonic deluge that was the 2016 WJRR Earthday Birthday concert. Featuring some of the biggest acts in the biz, the day-long, outdoor rock juggernaut played out at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando. It was only late April, but it already was hot a.f.
WOW, Joan Jett and Brody Dalle must have had a baby, I thought to myself as I navigated toward the Bud Light stage. The band that had commandeered the festivities was a grimy, angry little gang. Leading the charge was the likely Jett/Dalle love child, frontchick, Renee Phoenix. And her abrasive band of gutter punk misfits — Fit for Rivals.
The Bud Light stage would be home to a sweltering late afternoon headline set from FM rock darlings, Halestorm. But it already had been dominated completely at 12:30 by the tattoo-covered Phoenix and her Jacksonville-based combo.
Fit for Rivals. delivered enough hooky crunch to reel me in straight away, while packing enough below-the-waist punch to make me feel like I was getting away with something nasty. Holy crap — somebody better call 911! That little girl has a Marshall stack stuck in her throat! And as they wrapped up a blistering 30-minute set with their super-catchy YouTube hit, “Freak Machine,” it occurred to me that I’d just seen THE best band of the day — and it was only 1:00.
Fast forward to 2020. In the midst of the COVID crisis, Phoenix dropped her eponymous four-song debut solo EP. And in 2021, the recent Tennessee transplant returns with a few new tatts, and “EZPZ,” the leadoff track from her upcoming full-length solo set.
Show me your violence — your non-compliance! Bursting with Phoenix’s signature-style urgency, the song feels as sharp as my collection of unused Bic Comfort 3 disposable razors. The tune slices deeper still, with Phoenix proclaiming, “Nobody gives a flying fuck about you!” Reflecting the common frustration of the pandemic-mandated shelter-in-place, work-from-home reality, the seizure-inducing video also is a relatable, raucous romp. Sheila, you just lost your vacation.
Owning unbridled rock star swagger, Phoenix (as usual) demands one’s undivided attention from the tippy ‘til the end of the track’s 2:40 running time. However, in the equally captivating three-and-a-half-minute video, she surrenders (just) enough to allow guitarist Shae Padilla and The Other LA drummer Gerardo Prudhomme sufficient oxygen. Among the video’s A-list cameo credits; Icon for Hire princess Ariel Bloomer and Heidi Shepherd from Butcher Babies.
For those of us who continue to crave the lost energy and spirit of the Vans Warped Tour, “EZPZ” certainly helps fill that summertime void. And if it’s a reliable indicator of what’s to come, Phoenix’s new full-length record promises to be a balls-out nut-buster, for sure.
Run Time: 2:40
Release Date: June 16, 2021
Record Label: Freak Machine
Upcoming Renee Phoenix Tour Dates:
June 26th – Charlotte, NC
July 2nd – Huntsville, AL
July 3rd – Biloxi, MS
July 16th – Clarksville, TN