Monday, July 23, 2012
The Hungry Hearts Tour @ the Red Room (7/21/12)
Sometimes, size does matter: this show might have attracted my attention just for its quantity of acts (six in all). Of course, it did help that those acts included Piranhas, a local punk band I'd heard good things about but never seen, and The Acrotomoans, whom I like both as musicians and as people.
Though it improved as the night wore on, attendance was surprisingly meager for a Saturday show. I sat at the bar before it began, read the Boise Weekly and wondered how big the crowd would be for karaoke at Neurolux this night.
Local punk band Piranhas opened the night's music. These guys have been around the scene for a while: their lead singer talked about playing a show with his "godawful death metal band" back when the Red Room was J.D. & Friends, and someone I spoke with said that their lead guitarist has been in bands since before I was born. I don't know about that last one, but in any case, all that time paying dues seems to have paid off. They plowed through their catchy, mid-tempo tunes like a well-oiled machine, and all the while, their lead guitarist peeled off badass solos like they were nothing. They weren't stunningly brilliant, but such unpretentious, consistent craftsmanship is hard enough to come by.
After Piranhas came Greenlander, a solo hip-hop act from Ohio. He didn't rap so much as chant, but that didn't make much difference one way or the other. The real attraction and point of his set were his relentless, robotically funky, industrial-tinged techno-beats. They reminded me of the days when the Red Room was Terrapin Station and they had Nocturnum (goth/industrial night) every Sunday.
Up after Greenlander was JE double F, an MC from New Jersey. While his movie clip intros and smooth yet disquieting beats reminded me a little of the Samurai Champloo soundtrack (yeah, I'm an anime nerd--what about it?) and the Wu-Tang Clan, his smart, funny, fierce lyrics reminded me of the Clash. My hand would've probably cramped up and been useless for the rest of the night if I'd tried to transcribe all of his great class-conscious, anti-war, anti-corporate, anti-consumerist rhymes. He had much better flow than Joe Strummer too--probably closer to Ghostface Killah or Raekwon.
After JE double F finished up, Ohio-based rapper MC Homeless took the stage. Hismindbogglinglyfastflowmadeitalittlehardtounderstandwhathewassayingsometimes, but thankfully, he varied it now and again, which gave me the chance to savor both his sharp wit and his verbal dexterity. And then for something completely different, he dropped in a couple of uproarious hardcore rants about Twin Peaks ("DADDY LOVES YOU!").
The Acrotomoans played next and delivered a focused, high-energy set. Perhaps recording and releasing their first album recently gave them an extra boost in confidence. In any case, their driving basslines, buzzsaw guitar riffs, machine-gun drumming and roaring vocals hit like a souped-up V-8 hearse. My heart melted when Luke Gushwa dedicated their punked-up version of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling In Love" to his girlfriend, and I grinned when they stayed onstage a couple of minutes past their cut-off time to play a raucous cover of "Blitzkrieg Bop." And I didn't mind at all when they dedicated "Left to Rot" to MC Homeless instead of me.
I dashed down to 10th St. Station after the Acrotomoans wrapped up to wish a friend Happy Birthday, buy him a drink and give him his present (a copy of Poet: A Tribute to Townes Van Zandt--great stuff). Unfortunately, I didn't make it back in time to catch San Diego-based punk band Break the Cycle's set. Sorry, fellas.
I ended my night chatting with some friends at Neurolux, which didn't quite have five times as many people as the Red Room did. Oh well. I suppose that the populist in me can support karaoke in theory, and it's cool that Neurolux undoubtedly made some good coin that night. Still... Sigh. Oh well. "Doh-on't stop...belee-e-vin'..."
You can find info about all of these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.