Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Stargaze Unlimited, Champagne Leader, Jac Sound and 605 to San Gabriel @ the Shredder (8/7/12)

As usual, Radio Boise had set up a promising show this Tuesday night at Neurolux.  Since I'd seen the last three in a row, however, a change-up seemed in order (I'll be there for their Murder By Death show next week, though).  Anyway, I opted instead to check out a show at the Shredder featuring the excellent Caldwell band Stargaze Unlimited and a couple of acts I'd never encountered before.

Attendance was rather low for this concert, possibly due to its having to compete with Neurolux's show and with Evil Wine's Atypical Tuesday show at the Red Room.  I got down to the Shredder around 9, plopped myself down at a table and did a bit of light reading.  I'd brought along with me one of my birthday presents, 1 Dead in Attic by Chris Rose.  It's a collection of columns from the Times-Picayune about post-Katrina New Orleans.  Honestly, this is the closest I usually come to "light."

First up this evening was the Nampa-based band 605 to San Gabriel.  Their sharply arranged, slightly jazzy pop got the show off to a good start.  Buddy Gharing and Tomas Fisher's elegant, glittering guitars weaved and flowed with Jessica Prindle's ringing keyboard hooks and Jeff Erekson and Christian Mannion's unassumingly slick bass and drums.  Fisher's throaty vocals sounded slightly mannered but proved charming nonetheless.  It helped that he got support from his wife Lorraine's thoughtful harmonies.

After 605 to San Gabriel came Jac Sound, who kept the poppy feel of the show going.  His playing was a touch looser than usual, but his singing and songs were as pleasant and catchy as ever.  I'd put his cover of "Gangsta's Paradise" up there with Ben Folds's cover of "Bitches Ain't Shit."  In fact, I might like it more; Jac Sound just strikes me as a nicer guy.

After Jac Sound finished, the Los Angeles-based band Champagne Leader took the stage.  Their melodies sounded just as sweet as the preceding two acts', but their agreeably ragged playing and goofy, rowdy attitude added some spice to the mix: their "Handle With Care" cover sounded more like the early Rolling Stones than the Traveling Wilburys.  Shea Branham's stinging electric guitar and Vincent Munoz's pounding keyboard and acoustic guitar meshed nicely with Kasey Sullivan's sly bass and Daniel Morales's rolling, tumbling drums.  They jumped around, swapped stage positions, dropped down from the stage to mix with the crowd and joined together for some tart harmonies.

Damn good fun.

Stargaze Unlimited closed out the night and delivered the best set that I've seen by them yet.  Their brooding, intense instrumentals contrasted sharply with the other acts yet still felt appropriate: they gave the crowd a chance to wind down before bed.  Kurtis Beckwith's sinister riffs, Travis Gamble's understated basslines and Richard Metzger's titanic drumming all showed increased confidence, which gave the music extra power.  The audience hardly moved or turned their eyes away from the stage during Stargaze Unlimited's set.  Watch out for these guys.

You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Keesha Renna and Vagabond Promotions, who can be reached at 1 (208) 283-0259 and

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