Sunday, December 16, 2012

JamesPlaneWreck, Storie Grubb and the Holy Wars and Chris Jennings @ Neurolux (12/11/12)

JamesPlaneWreck and Storie Grubb and the Holy Wars.  Admittedly, the pairing struck me as a little odd at first--kinda like putting together Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young (though they actually really liked each other, believe it or not).  But hey, I wasn't gonna complain about seeing two excellent local bands on the same night.

There were about twenty-five people at Neurolux when I got down there.  I counted a little over thirty by the time that JamesPlaneWreck took the stage.  Pretty modest, but decent enough.

Starting off the night was local musician Chris Jennings, who debuted as a solo act with this set (he played bass in the Caldwell group Lakefriend up until a couple of months ago).  This performance had plenty of rough edges: Jennings's basic picking and strumming wandered off beat, he forgot lyrics occasionally and he looked pretty darn nervous in general ("I'm a little bit shaky," he admitted with a grin at one point).  All the same, he definitely showed potential.  His simple tunes and unaffectedly plainspoken lyrics went together nicely with his multiple George Jones covers.  Also, while Jennings was no match for Jones vocally (who is?), his subdued delivery had a certain charm to it (don't know about that faux-twang, though).  I'll be interested to see where the man goes from here.  Maybe he could do some duets with Kailie Leggett.

Storie Grubb and the Holy Wars played next.  Their spot on this bill attuned my ears to the elements of folk and country that run through their melodies and riffs.  This set was also noteworthy as the debut of Dustin Jones (The Hand, The Evil Wine Show) on bass.  The man certainly didn't waste time making his presence felt: the casually expert interplay between Jones's muscular basslines, Storie Grubb's jangly guitar and Bruce Maurey's intricate drumwork added a whole new dimension to the group's older material.  It also gave them the confidence to venture out into some lyrical instrumental passages.  Meanwhile, Matthew Vorhies's accordion floated on top as serenely as ever.  Luna Michelle's tambourine jabbed in and out skillfully, and her lovely harmonies continued to temper the smart abrasiveness of Storie Grubb's vocals.  A great band is getting even better.

JamesPlaneWreck closed out the night with their best performance yet.  Aaron Smith's rough vocals sounded more assured than ever.  Shane Brown's twangy leads zipped and stung.  Shaun Shireman's bass kept the music gliding along.  Andrew Bagley let off enough dynamite for two drummers.  Their indelible tunes, chugging guitars and thunderous rhythms got people on their feet and dancing.  When the band reached the chorus of the anthemic "Fuckin' with Ghosts" (which they changed to "Walkin' With Ghosts" for this show--they were being broadcast on Radio Boise), the crowd sang along loudly.  No doubt about it: this is one of Boise's best bands.

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

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