Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Like A Rocket and Kasey Anderson and the Honkies @ Neurolux (6/4/12)

I almost passed on going to this show.  I felt a little drained from the previous week, and there was some stuff that I needed to take care of at home.  In the end, though, my desire to see one of my favorite Boise bands again and my curiosity to see a group with the chutzpah to bill themselves as Kasey Anderson and the Honkies proved too strong.

A pretty intense storm made the drive down to Neurolux uncommonly interesting.  I drove by one house and saw a tree snapped in half like a toothpick, its branches scattered across the front lawn.  I navigated around more fallen branches and shards of wood as I made my way down 15th St.  Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night...

Possibly due to the crappy weather, not many people showed up at Neurolux this night.  That's a shame: now all they can do is read about it.  And buy the CD's.

One of my top five Idaho bands, Like A Rocket, opened the night's show.  As I watched them, it occurred to me that, while I've recently seen these musicians' other projects (Speedy Gray's partnership with Johnny Shoes, Z.V. House's A Seasonal Disguise), I actually hadn't seen this group in a little while.  It definitely felt good to see them this night.  While they may have hit a couple of rough patches, the interplay between Z.V. House's intricate basslines, Max Klymenko's colossal drumming and Speedy Gray's fiery guitar reconfirmed my belief that this is one of the greatest bands in this state.  In fact, the last two songs of their set, which featured the fiercest soloing that I've ever heard from Speedy Gray, made me wonder if perhaps I've been too restrained in my praise.

After Like A Rocket came Portland, OR-based Kasey Anderson and the Honkies.  Anderson and his partner, Seattle-based singer/songwriter Star Anna, joked that maybe they should have billed themselves as Kasey Anderson and the Honky.  But since there was more than one honky onstage, he reasoned after that, the plural still kinda worked.

Stuff like this is why my blog has taken the direction that it has over the past couple of months.  This music screamed out for a much larger audience than the handful of people who heard it.  While I heard a touch of Steve Earle in his sly, raspy drawl and his detailed, sharply observed lyrics, Kasey Anderson had an unsentimental warmth and an uncynical stoicism that were all his own.  Star Anna matched Anderson lyrically with her own tough-minded words and complemented him vocally with her strong, aching, beautiful moan.  They traded songs for about an hour, each one as stunning as the others.  Even when their subject matter turned to heartbreak and deprivation, their steady tempos and the forthright way that they were sung seemed to say, "I'm gonna deal with this, and I'm gonna get through it."  I hope that one or both of these fine performers play Boise again sometime soon.

A final word about this night.  After Kasey Anderson and Star Anna wrapped up, I went out to the smoking patio to talk with Speedy Gray.  I chatted with him and with a very pretty, very intelligent, very charming lady.  This lady turned out to be Amy LaVere, an excellent singer-songwriter based in Memphis.  Click here to see a clip of her performing the lead song from her latest album, Stranger Me.

You can find info about all of these musicians on Facebook and elsewhere online.  I strongly recommend doing so.  Buy their CD's too.

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