Thursday, June 7, 2012

Whale, Cat Massacre, Le Fin Absolute du Monde and Red Hands Black Feet @ the Red Room (6/5/12)

I faced a dilemma this last Tuesday.  Would I go see one of my favorite local bands play the Red Room's Atypical Tuesday or would I check out the first of Radio Boise's series of Tuesday shows at Neurolux?  The fact that Radio Boise's show was comprised entirely of local hip-hop acts made this decision even more difficult (I've wanted to check out some of those groups for a while now).  In the end, I opted for the Red Room show partly because I try to see every Red Hands Black Feet show that I can and partly because the bill included a San Francisco group that Wes Malvini was extremely excited about.

I do plan to check out some of the upcoming Radio Boise shows, however, and I strongly encourage others in the Boise area to do the same.  They have some absolutely fantastic shows lined up in the next two months (including two of my top four Treefort acts), and 20% of all drink sales will go into their worthy coffers.

First up at the Red Room was Whale, a local four-man hard rock band.  This was their second show ever (they played their first only a couple of weeks ago), and I highly doubt that it'll be their last.  A Whale song would sound right at home on classic rock radio between "Gimme Three Steps" and "Tumblin' Dice."  Jesse Wiedmeir's bass and Wade Ronsse's drums laid down a rock-solid, hard-driving groove, lead singer Tyler Brodt drawled and shouted the lyrics very nicely and both he and lead guitarist Alex Wargo delivered some impressively terse and elegant solos.  Their songwriting tended to rely on standard classic rock tropes (woman troubles, headin' on down the road, etc), but their arrangements give me hope that they'll soon teach those old dogs some new tricks.  Another very promising young group.

After Whale came Cat Massacre, a cute little hardcore group based in Boise.  With frontman Colby Meade spouting lines like "For those of you who like anal sex, this song is for you," I probably would've figured out that their noise was an end in itself even if Art Fad's Jacob Milburn weren't playing bass.  The random moments where guitarist Dominic Munoz showed off his prodigious chops only further emphasized that this was all a joke.  Not as witty as Microbabies or Art Fad but still fun.

Following Cat Massacre was Le Fin Absolute du Monde, a San Francisco-based art-rock duo.  I checked out their Facebook page before the show, and I'll confess that it made me both curious and wary.  A group that can cite both Megadeth and Sade (the singer, not the Marquis) as influences?  I dunno.  But hey, what the heck, I'll try almost anything once...

While the Sade influence came through in Chicky Myles detached, chanteuse-y vocals, the Megadeth influence manifested itself in Jason Myles' ripping guitar and strutting, headbanging stage act.  Meanwhile, their stomping beats and ominous soundscapes called to mind a few other artists that their FB page cited: NIN, Portishead, Massive Attack.  Taken as a whole, their ambient/metal hybrid wasn't bad at all, although I wished that they'd turned up the guitar just a little bit more.

Red Hands Black Feet closed out the night with a much looser and more sluggish set than is their norm.  I think that I heard more sour notes in this night's set than I did in their last three performances put together.  I should hasten to add, however, that it wasn't an out-and-out disaster.  Jessica Johnson was definitely on her game, and everybody managed to pull together for the big climaxes.  In the end, I just shrugged and said, "Hey, even great bands have their off nights."

You can find info about these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Red Hands Black Feet will open for Pickwick, who was number 9 on my Treefort Top 10, at Neurolux on June 22nd.  I am fully confident that that night's set will meet their usual ass-whomping standard.

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