Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dear Rabbit, With Child and Bonefish Sam @ the Red Room (7/3/12)

I had no illusions: THE show of this evening was gonna be Radio Boise's Youth Lagoon concert at the Reef.  Not only was the most popular group from Boise (aside from Built to Spill, maybe) headlining, they would be supported by Mozam, whose recent set at the Flying M impressed me greatly, and Teens, a local punk group who's been generating one hell of a buzz around town (their Treefort set was reportedly the stuff of legend).  In spite of all this, I opted to check out the Red Room's Atypical Tuesday because 1) aside from Grandma Kelsey, its bill was comprised entirely of acts I hadn't seen or written about before, 2) I worried that no one else would show up, and 3) ... Well, let me just put it this way: if you love Youth Lagoon, God bless you--clearly, you hear something that I can't.

Happily, my concerns about poor attendance for the Red Room's show proved unfounded.  Not only that, the crowd seemed genuinely receptive to the music as well.  Unfortunately, circumstances prevented me from arriving in time to catch Grandma Kelsey's set.  I'm sure that I'll write about her another time.

First up this night was Dear Rabbit a.k.a. Colorado-based musician Rence Liam, whose cabaret/gypsy-folk-infused music, broad singing and guilefully guileless stage act was one part Tom Waits and one part Jonathan Richman.  He worked hard to make it look like he didn't know what he was doing: he swigged beer (if that's what it was) periodically and dropped banter like "I don't have a title for this song yet.  I don't sing it often, so I probably forgot it."  However, his funny, well-crafted songs, his skillful looping and his ability to play the trumpet and the accordion at the same time gave the lie to that.

Next up was With Child a.k.a. Nampa-based musician Elijah Jensen.  If Dear Rabbit drew upon Jonathan Richman's chutzpah, With Child's serenely urgent, endearingly straightforward tunes drew upon his disarming melodiousness.  Jensen's steady picking and strumming kept the songs moving along nicely, and the moments when his singing didn't quite hit the right notes only added to the brief set's general feeling of unguarded lyricism.

Local experimental musician Bonefish Sam closed out the night's show with the help of Elijah Jensen on guitar and synth and The Very Most's Jeremy Jensen on bass.  I heard quite a bit in this tuneful, spacey, polyrhytmic, politely funky music--some African music and early 70's Miles Davis fusion here, some dub and trip-hop there.  Bonefish Sam squeezed all manner of wonderful noises out of his electronics set-up.  Jeremy Jensen's warm, liquid bass runs showed that, should The Very Most ever break up (God forbid), he could maybe pick up a gig subbing for Fernando Saunders in Lou Reed's band.  Elijah Jensen's clean electric guitar fills and synth parts gave the music some extra bite.  I only wish that I could've picked up a CD or something.  It might've made a fine companion piece to In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew.

You can find info about all these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  For info on upcoming Atypical Tuesdays and more, you can look up The Evil Wine Show on Facebook or go to

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