Portland-based musician Milo Duke kicked off the show. His clean, high tenor, his sturdy folk melodies and his funny, twisted lyrics went over very nicely. Highlights included the most heartwarming love song to a zombie I've ever heard and an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. "If you like the song, you should read the book," Duke said after playing the latter. "It's really good... So I'm told."
Next up was Sun Blood Stories. This night's lineup featured Andy Rayborn and Brett Hawkins, both of whom had backed up Ben Kirby at the show with Brother Dan last month. Rayborn's trotting basslines and Coltrane-esque sax bleats, Hawkins's steady drumming and Kirby's scorching slide guitar fell into such an easy, relaxed groove that I hope that they'll keep playing together. I imagine that the ladies in the crowd felt the same way: they swayed like tall grass in the breeze to the loose, brooding funk.
Blessedly, Rubedo's headlining set had much fewer difficulties than their Shredder show did. Kyle Gray's soulful, slightly pained vocals and otherworldly synthesizer noises, Alex Trujillo's quicksilver guitar and Gregg Ziemba's Industrial-strength drums all sounded in excellent form. A new song, "Ain't It Funny," sounded as if it could've come off a Tom Waits album (Gray even sang through a megaphone). That cast a new and welcome light, I thought, on the roots of this group's genre mashup (funk, metal, dub, etc.). It also said good things about their warmth, earthiness and potential longevity. Meanwhile, the crowd got rewarded for their dancing and warm applause with what Rubedo claimed was their first encore in a year.
You can find info on these acts on Facebook and elsewhere online. Special thanks to Eric Gilbert and Radio Boise.