Saturday, November 10, 2012

San Francesca, First Borns and Iconoplasty @ Neurolux (11/6/12)

I'd caught the tail-end of San Francesca's set when they played the Red Room's Atypical Tuesday a few months back.  I'd only gotten to hear one or two songs, but those had impressed me so much that I'd hoped that I'd get to see this San Francisco-based band again sometime soon.  When I learned about this show, consequently, I immediately marked it down on the calendar.

There were about thirty people at Neurolux when I got down there.  I expected more people to show up later on, but such was not the case.  Then I remembered that there was some kind of election going on...

First up was Iconoplasty, the latest project of musician/playwright/Boise Weekly reporter Josh Gross.  It would've been impressive enough to have watched/heard the man construct layer upon layer of beats, riffs and loops for fifty minutes straight with only a guitar and an electronic drum setup.  Then he confirmed afterwards that, aside from the very beginning and the very end, his set had been entirely improvised.  Probably the most immediately and straightforwardly likeable that Josh Gross will ever get.  It's just a shame that more people didn't dance.  At least one guy had the right idea...

Too bad he stopped before Eric Gilbert turned on the smoke and lasers.

Local group First Borns played next.  It might've been nice if, after pausing mid-set to announce that Obama had won the election, they'd launched into a cover of "Won't Get Fooled Again."  That wouldn't really have fit in with their moody, Joy Division-esque sound, though, and we can debate the point another time (the important thing: Romney and the Luna laws lost).  In any case, these guys sounded in excellent form, with Christopher Smith's detached vocals floating atop his own droning basslines, Alex Hecht's buzzsaw guitar and Erik Butterworth's clipped, nimble drumming.

San Francesca closed out the night.  This group certainly made no bones about their influences: they closed their set with an original song entitled "Manchester" that even stole part of its melody from "Decades."  As the proud owner of five Joy Division CD's and two Joy Division t-shirts, however, I say that you can do a lot worse when it comes to influences.  Besides, their misty guitar drones, solemn synthesizer and intricate, propulsive mix of live drumming and recorded beats proved distinctive enough in their own right.  The clincher for me, however, were Harrison Russell's flat, grating vocals.  I found them annoying at first, but as the set wore on, I came to regard them as a bracing sign of life.  The man sounded too pissed off and smart to surrender to suicide, decadence or cheap cynicism.  Consequently, this group appealed not only to the part of me that loves Joy Division but to the part of me that loves the Clash.

You can find info on these acts on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Eric Gilbert and Radio Boise.

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