Sunday, December 23, 2012

Red Hands Black Feet, First Borns and Lakefriend @ the Red Room (12/20/12)

In a way, this show had been about a year in the making.  That's how long it had taken Red Hands Black Feet to record, mix, master and release their debut album, These Things Are Important.  From what I've heard, it had been tough finding the time and the money to get it done, but they finally did it.  Given how much praise I've heaped on this group, I probably don't even need to write that I put this show down on my calendar as soon as I heard about it.

Happily, I apparently wasn't the only one.  I counted about forty-five people when I got down to the Red Room.  By the time that Red Hands Black Feet played, that number had to have climbed to seventy if not higher.  It feels good to know that I'm not the only one who loves this group.

Caldwell group Lakefriend opened the show.  They sounded a touch tamer and looser than I've seen them recently, which gave me space to notice how quite a few of their songs seem to follow the same basic pattern (fast section, stop-start section, etc.).  This doesn't mean that they weren't still enjoyable, however.  Also, Gabe Arellano's bass playing sounded much smoother and more confident that it did at the Cheap Time show.  This helped ensure that, when they all hit their groove, Mason Johnson and Matt Stone's complementary guitars and Jacob Milburn's rapid drumming took off once again.

Local group First Borns played next and sounded in excellent form.  Erik Butterworth's drums sounded especially strong and added extra propulsion and power to Alex Hecht's chiming guitar and Christopher Smith's rumbling, droning bass.  A couple of new (I think) surf-punkish songs sounded good and menacing while their older material was as broodingly tuneful as ever.

Red Hands Black Feet closed out the night with a downright majisterial performance.  They glided, weaved, slammed and rumbled their way through the entirety of their album as if it were second nature to them (which, after playing the same damn stuff for at least two years, it probably is).  The audience seemed to know the songs by heart too: I heard folks cheering climaxes and shifts in mood and tempo.  This was in addition to the usual headbanging, whooping and screaming that RHBF's music tends to provoke.  Even one of the Red Room's bartenders gave them the thumbs-up.  The band members gave the love right back with multiple thank-you's to the crowd and to the people who have supported them (Eric Gilbert, Josh Gross, etc.).

This night reconfirmed a belief that I've held for a while: that this is a great band and one that deserves recognition beyond Idaho.  Now that they've got their music recorded, maybe they can truly start to make that happen.

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

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