When Zach Saucier was approached by the late Aly Prudence after he performed a solo set at the Las Vegas Film Festival in 2015, he had no idea that she’d open a can of worms.
“She asked me if I needed some bass in my life, and she wanted to jam together,” Saucier says. “[Prudence] learned the songs immediately, and our chemistry allowed us to gel together and write song after song.”
This sibling-like relationship laid the foundation for The First Sun—an eclectic rock trio that’s comprised of the scene’s elite: Saucier, singer and guitarist, performed in the indie dance duo Payola Presley and seasoned rock band Slow to Surface; Prudence played in Dusty Sunshine and The Van der Rohe; drummer Alex Acevedo slapped the skins in Dante’s Inferno. (The band now includes ex-Blue Man Group member Aki Ishihara on bass.)
The First Sun would go on to release an EP, but then took the back burner as members, especially Prudence, focused on other endeavors.
“Being the charismatic firecracker that she was, [Prudence] was one of the most sought-after bass players in the scene,” Saucier says. “The First Sun was her passion project, and as we wrote more and more songs, we decided they’d be best released as an album.”
Six months after Prudence took her own life, those selections are finally being released as Come Back Home—the band’s first and only album. It’s a project Saucier became hellbent on finishing upon his bandmates’ passing. To commemorate, Saucier organized a grandiose celebration slated for April 14 at Cornish Pasty Co. The event serves several purposes: It’s a release show for the album, which contains Prudence’s last recordings, and a suicide awareness fundraiser to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Lastly, the show will serve as Saucier’s Capstone Project to conclude his tenure at UNLV.
“It’s a point of education,” Saucier says. As one of Prudence’s close friends, he wants to both honor the bassist and spread awareness about depression among creatives. “Artists are three times more likely to think about suicide. That is massive. I want to educate everyone that just because we’re artists and we seem happy, many of us suffer from depression.”
The engagement features an eclectic bill consisting of Prudence’s bands The First Sun and Dusty Sunshine, as well as PureJoyPeople, Glass Pools and Jesse Pino and the Vital Signs—bands made up of Prudence’s friends. The music will be supplemented by live art, a silent auction and a photo booth at Cornish Pasty Co. Prudence, who also had a decorated food and beverage resume, served as a bartender at the restaurant and helped coordinate bar staff when it was transitioning between locations.
“When [the restaurant owners] found out that I was putting out her final body of recorded material, they insisted that I hold the show at the venue as an homage,” Saucier says. He and the restaurant are also in discussions to potentially dedicate the room in Prudence’s honor.
As for The First Sun, Saucier insists on closing the books following the show. “Because this album is so entrenched in emotion and real stories and real life, The First Sun is done when the show is over,” he says. “We want this to be a celebration, not a memorial.”
The First Sun
with PureJoyPeople, Glass Pools and Jesse Pino & The Vital Signs. April 14, 8 p.m., $10. Cornish Pasty Co., cornishpastyco.com