This show excited me because it heralded the return of Storie Grubb and the Holy Wars, a local group that I've always liked but never had the chance to write about (until this show, they hadn't played live since Treefort). Of course, it didn't hurt that one of Twin Falls' finest, CAMP, would be playing a set also.
Storie Grubb has quite a healthy fanbase around Boise, so I'd anticipated a substantial turnout. No such luck: I don't think that the audience count rose above fifteen, and that number includes me, a friend whom I'd dragged along and the bar staff. So it goes, I guess. There'll be more Storie Grubb gigs soon (hopefully, anyway).
CAMP started off the night. They played with just the three members shown above, but they didn't need anything more to deliver a good performance. The basslines sounded as fluid and driving as ever, the drumming sounded as dynamic as ever, and the psychedelic guitar sounded as mercurial as ever. Listening to them this night, I reflected that it almost doesn't seem right to brand this group's music shoegaze: it's so energetic and outgoing that it seems to throw its eyes everywhere.
After CAMP came the Portland-based trio New York Rifles. I felt sorriest for this group about the show's low attendance: their performance deserved a crowd at least three or four times bigger. This band's music was as wiry as their lead singer's frame. Nate James's clipped drumming, Jamie Gould's big, tuneful basslines and Scott Young's slashing riffs, piercing solos and high, sly singing served up unfaltering, poppy punk tunes (or punky pop tunes, whichever you prefer). Hopefully, these guys'll come back around sometime soon and play to a larger audience.
Storie Grubb and the Holy Wars closed out the night. Their time away seems to have done them a world of good: this may well have been the strongest and most assured set that I've seen them play so far. Their bass player, Luna Michelle, told me that they won't wear costumes onstage anymore. It shouldn't make much difference; their music is all that they need. Storie Grubb's irresistible melodies, sweet harmonies, steady beat, clean guitars and fancifully sardonic lyrics don't remind me of anything so much as the Doug Yule-era Velvet Underground (though their drummer rocks so hard that he's closer to DJ Bonebrake or Keith Moon than to Maureen Tucker). Their speeded-up/slowed-down versions of songs that I've heard several times before sounded so right-on-the-money that I seemed to be hearing them for the first time. It's good to have them back.
You can find info about these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.