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Annamarie Sanchez couldn’t stop thinking about the fun she’d had Tuesday night at the Rebel Lounge watching and meeting an indie-pop duo from Liverpool called Her’s. So she messaged a friend to tell her she should check them out.
“And then yesterday, I was at work and she messaged me,” Sanchez recalls. “And she was like, ‘I heard about that band. I’m so sorry.’ I was like ‘What are you talking about?'”
The members of Her’s were on their way to California for a show in Santa Ana after that sold-out performance in Phoenix when their passenger van was involved in a head-on collision with a wrong-way driver on Interstate 10 west of Centennial in La Paz County.
The crash occurred just after 1 a.m. Wednesday, killing Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading of Her’s; their tour manager, Trevor Engelbrektson; and the driver of the other vehicle, a Nissan pickup driving east in the westbound lane.
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“The whole thing is just so unbelievably sad,” Sanchez says. “I thought about them all day Wednesday. I felt so high. And I felt so excited for them because they really had something super special.”
The show, Sanchez says, was amazing. “It sounded great. They were funny. They were charismatic. You could tell they were just so genuinely happy to be there and be playing and playing together. They obviously had a really strong bond with each other.”
After the set, she and a friend hung around until they were almost done talking to fans so they could maybe get a couple of extra minutes with them.
“They were super nice,” she says. “I told them how they remind me of Prefab Sprout, which is one of my favorite bands, and how I really felt like they were gonna make it and I was so excited for them. They were so appreciative. We laughed and hugged and took a couple pictures and they were really excited because the tour was almost over and they were gonna go back to Liverpool but they were also excited that they were gonna come back here again in the fall.”
Vanessa Herb, an ASU grad student from Phoenix, is planning a trip to the crash site Saturday with a friend to create a memorial.
“We’re just gonna head out there and leave a few things,” she says, “and spread some positivity, because their families are from the U.K. so I feel like there’s not really anybody based around here that can kind of memorialize them like that. So we just kind of took it on ourselves.”
Her first tweet after learning of the crash said she was “DEVASTATED” by the news.
“It’s just a lot,” she says, “especially because in the indie-alternative community, I’m friends with bands that know them and have toured with them and played at festivals with them. So it’s just one of those, like, community things.”
She finds their music interesting, she says, “because it’s indie but it kind of blends electronic elements and then they have different characters in their vocals, too. I feel like it’s a lot different than a lot of other music that’s out right now. It just sucks because they’re so creative and innovative.”
Justin Yee had been wanting to see Her’s for a while and was “pretty pumped” when the show was announced, he says – at least until he realized he’d already purchased tickets to Aziz Ansari that same night.
“But I was like ‘I’ve gotta see these guys; I’ve been wanting to for so long,'” he recalls.
So he raced to the club when Ansari was over and got there just in time to see the last few songs and asked if he could take some pictures of the band as they were loading up the van to drive to California.