Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Marshall Poole, Pacific Nomadic and Mickey the Jump @ the Crux; the Mad Caps, First Borns and Skittish Itz @ Tom Grainey's (9/8/12)

This was a busy night.  I'd already planned to check out a show set up by Orriginal Promotions at the Crux when Keesha Renna told me about a promising bill set up by Vagabond Promotions at Tom Grainey's.  Honestly, I'm glad I started my new job: it may give me a chance to take a break.

There were over forty people at the Crux when I got down there, and some more trickled in as the show progressed.  Joseph Morgan of Pacific Nomadic mentioned that he saw a whole lotta friends and family in the crowd, but I doubt that that accounted for everyone.

First up was Marshall Poole, a power trio based in Caldwell, Nampa and Boise (according to their Facebook page).  I've said this before, and I said it to a friend who watched this set with me: groups like this really make me feel like I haven't done enough with my life.  The members of this band are only 18 or 19, I learned, but they've already got it all together.  Between Rider Soran's clean, firm voice and Melanie Radford's tough, sultry one, they boast two solid singers.  Between Soran's astonishing guitar solos, Radford's humongous, funky basslines, Mike Hoobery's fluid but foundational drums and the swaggering groove that held them all together, they didn't remind me of anything so much as Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsys.  Between their spit-shined tunes and hooks galore, they sounded as if they could take the classic rock canon and at least wrestle it to a tie.  My friend wondered where they could go in five years' time.  So do I.

After Marshall Poole came Pacific Nomadic, a band from Boise originally but now based in Seattle.  Their sparkling guitar, streamlined bass, pensive melodies and pinched, nasal, moaned/whined vocals called to mind swoony popsters like the Cure and Coldplay.  They didn't too mopey, though, thanks in good part to Nate Ihli's drumming.

Nampa band Mickey the Jump closed out the show at the Crux.  Hearing their striking tunes, intriguing lyrics, protean guitar and bouncing, stomping, driving drums again confirmed my good opinion of this band.  Unfortunately, it also confirmed my sneaking suspicion that they have a weak link in Nate Berrian's lead vocals.  Berrian isn't the worst singer that I've heard in this town (no, I won't tell you who that is here), but as it stands right now, he just doesn't have the pipes to put the songs over like he should.  I should hasten to add, however, that I could tell that the spirit and the brains were willing even if the flesh was weak.  There's gotta be a vocal couch out there who can help the man.

I headed straight over to Tom Grainey's after the Crux show ended.  I got there too late to see Dear Rabbit's return to Boise, but I did get to catch the set by the Mad Caps, a duo originally from Las Vegas but currently based in Seattle.  I couldn't hear much of this group's lyrics, but I didn't really concern myself with that, what with Ted Rader's bluesy, elemental riffs and Jon Real's clipped, steady, pounding drumwork.  Rader told the crowd at one point that some state troopers gave them a hard time on their way to this gig.  I hope that doesn't turn them off Idaho.  Stripped-down, gloriously primal rock.

Local group First Borns played next.  Admittedly, I wasn't sure how well these moody dudes would go over with the crowd at Grainey's.  Happily, they sounded if fine form this night, with Alex Hecht's guitar cutting through the noise in the bar like a chainsaw.  Their strong beat and tunes got the people moving.

Local punk band Skittish Itz followed First Borns.  "SKiTTiSH iTZ [sic] have been playing shows since November 2006 and don't intend to quit," it says on their Facebook profile.  I certainly hope not.  Their catchy tunes and lead singer Rekn Russ's clear, charming wail combined with metallic dual guitars and a hard-charging rhythm section to close out the night's music in solid fashion.  It makes me happy that, even with all the shows that I've seen this year, there are still cool local bands out there to discover.

You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Keesha Renna and Vagabond Promotions.  Oh, and I've got a shiny dime right here for anyone who can tell me where Marshall Poole took their name from.

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