Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Voice of Reason, The Steve Fulton Band, Pause for the Cause and Edmond Dantes @ the VaC (12/22/12)

I decided to check this show out because I wanted to show some support for Boise Rock School, who set the show up and who benefited from all of this night's proceeds.  Of course, it also helped that the bill featured two local acts I'd never seen before (well, I thought I hadn't, anyway) and synth-soul/funk duo Edmond Dantes, whom I've wanted to see again since the Go Listen Boise electronica show back in July.

I saw about twenty people at the VaC when I arrived.  Happily, that number would more than double as the night progressed.

Edmond Dantes opened the show.  Their tunes and hooks sounded every bit as elegant and entrancing as I remembered.  Ryan Peck's tight, fluid bass work and some slinky, intricate recorded beats wrapped around Andrew Stensaas's silken moan and warm synthesizer.  There wasn't much dancing during this set, but there was some good applause.

Up next was Meridian group Pause for the Cause.  This may be a bit of a backhanded compliment, but society must be improving when Meridian's getting their groove on.  Even before they played a cover of "Badfish," I'd remarked that these guys sounded quite a bit like Sublime.  That's not a bad thing--their catchy tunes, sharp arrangements, elastic basslines, fiery guitar solos, rock-steady drumming and interweaving vocals would've sounded just fine on 90's alternative radio.  They sounded just fine in 2012 too.

After Pause for the Cause came the Steve Fulton Band.  As it turned out, I had already seen Fulton back when his old band, House of Hoi Polloi, opened for the B-52's.  I remember thinking that they were so-so, but that could've just been impatience on my part (they weren't the group I wanted to see).  Anyway, I found Fulton's clear tenor, clipped soloing and inspired blend of blues, country and reggae much more than so-so this time around.  It undoubtedly helped that he had some tough, twangy bass, percolating drums and wailing organ (courtesy of old Hoi Polloi compatriot Russ Pfeifer) backing him up.  This set also featured some smooth rapping from local emcee Exit Prose (formerly known as Timbuk II of Kamphire Collective).

Local reggae group Voice of Reason closed out the night.  Perhaps it was the same as when I saw Hoi Polloi open for the B-52's, but this group impressed me much more here than they did when they opened for Toots and the Maytals back in July.  Frontman John Hoonhout's bluesy licks sounded more distinctive, and the Jamaican accent that he adopted while singing was uncanny--it sounded like the genuine article, not some affectation.  His bandmates' high harmonies, sly basslines, lithe drumming and tasteful horn interjections all followed suit.  I grew too tired to stay for the entirety of their second set, but the band and a handful of people were still going strong when I left around 1 AM.

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

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