Sunday, July 15, 2012

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears @ Alive After Five; The Prisms, Edmond Dantes and The Dirty Moogs @ Neurolux (7/11/12)

Normally, I try not to schedule seeing more than one show on the same day.  I just figure that it's good for my mental, physical and financial health.  This past Wednesday, however, presented two opportunities that I couldn't pass up.  Last year's Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears show at Neurolux was one of my favorites of 2011, so I got excited when I saw that they'd play Alive After Five.  Also, the good people at Go Listen Boise (who, coincidentally, organize the local openers for Alive After Five) had arranged an intriguing all-electronica show at Neurolux later this evening.

I was glad to see that so many folks braved the 100-degree weather and made it down to Grove Plaza.  I gotta admit, though, that I don't understand how people can drink beer when it's so friggin' hot outside.  It's not like they need help getting dehydrated.  Oh well, to each his/her own...

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears took the stage around 6 PM.  Their performance would've generated plenty of sweat without the sun's help--one part Stax soul/funk, one part juke joint blues, one part punk rock.  The Honeybears' soulful horns and swaggering rhythm section got the people close to the stage moving.  Black Joe Lewis delivered the songs in a raspy shout and slashed out tornado-like riffs and blistering solos on his guitar (whose dirty yet sharp tone doesn't sound quite like any other guitar that I've heard; it's like a rusty stiletto stabbing your ear).  I'm very glad that I got to see these guys again; they might be the closest thing in spirit to Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers going nowadays.

Unfortunately, I needed to run a last-minute errand and couldn't stay for the entire set.  I'd have liked to have heard them play "Livin' In the Jungle"  and seen if they'd had the balls to play "Mustang Ranch" (about their misadventures in the titular Nevada brothel) or "Bitch, I Love You" with all those kids around.  At least I got to hear their funked-up cover of Robert Johnson's "Stop Breaking Down" again.

I took care of my errand and got down to Neurolux before the show started.  The crowd started out decent and grew as the night progressed.  That was good to see: Go Listen Boise has been supporting the local music scene for years, and the folks there deserve all the support that they can get.

First up at Neurolux was local trio The Prisms.  As you might expect from a group that features Spondee's Clint Vickery, their lightly funky synth pop had more hooks than Cabela's.  The multicolored light and laser show added yet another level of fun to the sharp drumming, super-catchy synth and guitar lines and endearingly mild vocals.  It took a little while to get the people dancing (with the exception of a lissome, short-haired brunette and her friend), but a playful cover of "Always Something There To Remind Me" did the trick.

Next up was duo Edmond Dantes, who may or may not have changed their name to Barbarian Princess after this show.  Whatever they choose to call themselves, they're well worth checking out.  Their spare, elegant, seductive synth-funk/soul would've sounded right at home on the soundtrack to Drive or Miami Vice.  The strong, yearning tenor of the lead singer made me think of Pickwick's Galen Disston.  They remade Elvis Presley's "Devil In Disguise" and Kim Carnes's "Bette Davis Eyes" in their own image, and their originals didn't sound any worse for it.

All-synth trio The Dirty Moogs closed out the night with a wonderfully goofy, highly danceable set.  Between their leader's mock-German accent and songs with titles like "Tight Tight Pants," "Julie's An Android" and "Nintendo" (which really did sound like it could've come from an old 8-bit Mega Man game), they sounded like Kraftwerk or Gary Numan on laughing gas.  Not coincidentally, they included a Kraftwerk cover in their set and went out on that supreme anthem of alienation, Gary Numan's "Cars."

You can find info for all of these groups except Edmond Dantes/Barbarian Princess on Facebook and elsewhere online.  For info on upcoming Alive After Five shows and more, go to  Give 'em a couple bucks too, if you can spare it.

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