Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Maldives and Sun Blood Stories @ Neurolux (7/20/12)

This show caught my attention because it featured Sun Blood Stories, a local act I've meant to see for a while, and The Maldives, a folk/country-rock band from Seattle who played here during Treefort.  I considered checking them out then, but, well...

Yeah.  Wasn't gonna happen.

Neurolux wasn't nearly as crowded this time around.  At first, I thought that maybe everybody who would've been interested in this show was over at the Eagle River Pavillion watching Chris Isaak.  However, a decent enough crowd built up by the time that the Maldives played (about 45 or so people, by my count).

First up this night was Sun Blood Stories a.k.a. local musician Ben Kirby.  If the then-meager crowd bothered Kirby, he didn't show it (probably helped that a couple of ladies were dancing during his set).  His languidly confident baritone made me think a little of Gregg Allman, but his lyrics about sex, suicide, killing giants and trees eating truckers alive made me think a lot of Tom Waits.  Whatever he sang, his dependable sense of rhythm and his blues-steeped guitar rendered it listenable and danceable.  Welcome to the new weird America.

After Sun Blood Stories finished, The Maldives took the stage.  Even if their lead singer hadn't worn a Neil Young t-shirt, this band's folk melodies, tenor harmonies, raw guitar solos, calm banjo picking and cryptic, ominous lyrics would've indicated a familiarity with Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After the Gold Rush and Harvest.  Their rootsy eccentricity felt too willful and self-conscious for their rave-ups to rawk as much as they wanted, but the traces here and there of John Prine's homely warmth and goofy wisdom compensated.  As did their three-times-as-good-as-Ralph-Molina lady drummer.

You can find info on The Maldives and Sun Blood Stories on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Eric Gilbert and Duck Club Presents.

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