Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bowerbirds, Strand of Oaks and Prypyat @ Neurolux (10/26/12)

I was kinda split on seeing this show.  Yeah, it featured three acts I'd never seen, but since I'm gonna be a busy little bee over the next couple of weeks, I figured that I should take what down time I could get.  Then I read the latest Boise Weekly the night before.  Josh Gross's write-up on Bowerbirds made it sound like I'd be an idiot to miss this.

Apparently, not too many others read that preview.  I got down to Neurolux late, and there were still less than twenty people there.  The crowd built to about forty, which was respectable enough but still pretty sparse for a Friday night.  Maybe everybody was saving their energy for Halloween.

First up was Prypyat, a guitar-cello duo from Durham, NC.  The little bit that I caught of their set sounded good enough to make me feel bad for not seeing the whole thing.  Gorgeous melodies, not-too-swoony vocals, pleasantly straightforward arrangements.

Next up was Strand of Oaks a.k.a. Goshen, IN musician Timothy Showalter.  If his songs had stuck to your average why'd-she-leave-me stuff, this guy would've made me want to smash my bottle of Black Butte Porter on my head.  Thankfully, lyrics about space stations, giants and Dan Aykroyd killing John Belushi's drug dealer took Showalter's mournful melodies and shoegaze-tinged guitar and keyboard by the hands and yanked them off the side of the bed.  And honestly, his why'd-she-leave-me stuff didn't sound bad at all either.

Bowerbirds closed out the night.  This Raleigh, NC band's ability to blend folk and synth-pop music was impressive enough, but the fact that they did so without sounding smug or pretentious was a flat-out miracle.  Grade-A fresh melodies and pretty harmonies fused with moony cello, warm synthesizer and accordion, some sharp guitar work and some impressively pliable drumming.  A couple handfuls of folks moved onto the dance floor and swayed to the music.  Hopefully, a few more will do the same next time around.

You can find info on these acts on Facebook and elsewhere online.

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