Monday, January 21, 2013

Flashlights, Shades and Lamont Kohner @ the Riverside Hotel (1/18/13)

Even if I had written about any of these acts before, I'd have still gone to this show.  For one thing, this gave me the chance to check out the Riverside Hotel's Sapphire Room, which I'd heard had fantastic sound but was pretty hard to get into.  Much more importantly, what self-respecting Boise music blogger would miss the Treefort 2013 Launch Party?

I counted over forty people in the lobby when I arrived.  I'd count about sixty inside the Sapphire Room when the show started, and there'd be many more people there by the end of the night.

The Sapphire Room turned out to be aptly named: it had low blue lights and gem-like domes on the ceiling.  I walked around before the show and scoped out the jazz albums on the walls (Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, etc.).  Pretty darn classy.  I had to laugh, then, when I saw the crates loaded with PBR tallboys behind the bar.

Hey, you gotta cater to your crowd, right?

Lamont Kohner a.k.a. local musician Patrick Benolkin kicked off the show.  His sinuous, moody, tripped-out beats helped set the tone for the rest of the night.  They got some help from some typically inventive and mysterious antimagic montages.

Up next was Shades.  I was glad to finally get to see this local chillwave group again, especially since their music sounded about as good as I remembered.  Smooth 80's synthesizer beats and riffs, chiming guitars, charming tunes.  What really gave the whole package liftoff, however, was frontman David Mikkleson's enthusiastic stage presence (did some mild strutting and headbanging) and plain but pleasant tenor moan.  The lyrics weren't Cole Porter, but these days, I'll settle for a notch or two above coherence when it comes to younger groups.  Besides, the music did exactly what it was supposed to do: it got the people dancing.

Denver electro-pop duo Flashlights closed out the night.  I know that all dance music is supposed to be about sex on some level or another, but damn--this stuff actually felt like gettin' it on (or preparing to or, at the very least, hoping to).  It helped that their singer knew enough not to put his clean, strong, politely soulful vocals through any undue shows of prowess.  It helped too that their layers of steady beats and glimmering hooks had an enticing softness and airiness to them.  When combined with antimagic's tailor-made montages (pulsating lights, sparkling squares, clouds, dancing 80's ladies), Flashlights' music worked a fresh angle on disco's inevitably broken promise of endless pleasure.

Not long into their set, Flashlights invited a couple of ladies onstage to dance.  At the end, the stage was overrun.  A sign of things to come at Treefort, perhaps?

You can find info on these acts on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Eric Gilbert and Duck Club Presents.  Special thanks also to whoever picked up my bar tab.

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