I spent about an hour or so hanging around Neurolux, drinking water and reading The Turnaround by George Pelecanos. Incidentally, if you like gritty, realistic mystery/suspense stories (Dennis Lehane, The Wire, like that), check out some of Pelecanos's stuff. I've read his other two most recent novels and thought they were fantastic--100% bullshit-free in terms of both style and content. I just have to share a brief passage from The Turnaround about John D. Macdonald and then I'll get to the music:
He had started on the usual stoner lit, Heinlein, Tolkein, Hermann Hesse, and the like, and moved on to mystery and pulp. He became infatuated by the Travis McGee books by John D. Macdonald, though even at the age of nineteen he recognized them as the ultimate male fantasy, write large. No job, no family ties, life on a houseboat, the freedom to kill your enemies, the convenient death of lovers, allowing you to move on to the next Playboy-quality piece of ass... But the writing was clean and addictive.
Damn. Right on the money.
On one song, Palin brought up my friend Keesha Renna to sing harmony (which she did quite well). As usual, the quality of this picture sucks, but I do think it conveys the cuteness of the moment.
After Bridgeport came The Country Club, a local trio featuring Sun Blood Stories' Ben Kirby on bass. They sounded a little rough at some points, but punk and Neil Young fan that I am, that didn't bother me unduly. Mostly, I was grateful for the chance to hear some old-school country waltz and boom-chicka-boom live. Ben Kirby provided steady Marshall Grant-style support and chipped in with some good harmonies, Dave Manion's guitar workouts indicated that the man knows his Merle Haggard records, and Jonah Shue's weathered, nasally singing put the humourous, finely detailed lyrics across quite nicely. I'd put his original (I think) doing-time song "Plastic Flowers" up there with John Prine's "Christmas in Prison." Also, I had to give them bonus points for covering not just Hank Williams but Lefty Frizzell.
The Seattle-based Roy Kay Trio closed out the night's music. These guys emulated that spartan 50's rockabilly sound so well that I could half picture them recording for Sun Records back in the day. Their playing was tighter than Colonel Parker's cummerbund, their harmonies recalled the Everly brothers and their original songs held up fine against their cover of Hank Williams's "The Blues Come Around." Roy Kay's confident, friendly croon fit the songs like a glove, Robin Cady flawlessly slapped out the beat on his stand-up bass and Mike Geglia's stunning guitar solos might have gotten a thumbs-up from James Burton himself.
Happily, a fair amount of folks headed down to Neurolux after Wilco finished in time to catch the Roy Kay Trio. Mr. Kay mentioned at one point that it had been a couple years since they'd last played in Boise. I hope that they'll come back around sometime soon.
You can find info on all of these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online. Special thanks to Eric Gilbert and Radio Boise.