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ASU Devilpalooza opener Color 8 growing in the Phoenix music scene

Local band is working to expand audience from Phoenix to the world

The Color 8 drummer Emmett Nash and bassplayer Jeremy Smith keep in time at First Friday on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 in downtown Phoenix.

Enlightened, manifestation, jamming: All different terms, yet they describe one experience. This is the way the band Color 8 described its time in the Phoenix music scene. 

The band started around a year ago when Kal Benion, the guitarist, rounded up a group of local musicians with the idea of creating music that is genre-inclusive. Each member has past experience in music; whether it be within their families or in gospel choirs, there is plenty of accumulated playing time among the band members.

There was a sense of uncertainty in creating a band with random songs that don't necessarily go together. But, the group still had its goals and is pushing to make them a reality in the Phoenix music scene and beyond. 

From heavy metal to rhythm and blues, the widespread selection of music reflects the vibe of the band during the performance.

"You set your own limitations," Benion said.

The band played its first show at a First Friday in Phoenix last year, where the musicians said they were surpised by the accepting atmosphere and positive feedback they received.

"I was like, 'Woah. They like it,'" Benion said. "That was the greatest feeling ever – to get paid for a free show on the street. I'd never seen that before." 

The band performs many genres of music as well as covers. They change songs and 'jam' with one another throughout the course of a show. 

"A lot of times we don't have a set list," said drummer Emmett Nash, "so when we perform, it's really us."

The band's emcee and saxophonist, Ashton Vaughn Charles, said he attended a local concert where an acquaintance was opening for a 500 person crowd. 

"I remember putting it on Snapchat sometime this year ... (that Color 8) is going to perform in front of this sized crowd or bigger," Vaughn Charles said.

A few weeks later, his prediction came true, as the band performed at ASU's DevilPalooza, the group's biggest performance to date.

Several members described the experience as "life changing" and "motivational." The group said a big takeaway from performing at Devilpalooza was a sense of confidence that nothing could stop them.

"We all have a level of trust in each other as musicians," said bassist Jeremy Smith.

"I think that's one thing that people appreciate about us – that it's so natural," said Nash. 

Nash said he anticipated that the band would go on tour within the next year. 

As with any group of artists, their crosshairs are set on bigger and better venues, performances and, above all else, music. 

"We have what it takes to be doing shows and big festivals," Nash said.

Reach the reporter at or follow @mayafoxall on Twitter.

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