Saturday, January 26, 2013

JamesPlaneWreck, Black Bolt and Stepbrothers @ Neurolux (1/23/13)

The past few days have been a little rough for me.  I'd been getting over a cold, which kept me from checking out the Coven show at the Shredder last Saturday (woulda been a great headline, though--"Boise Music Blogger Headbangs Himself to Death").  I was feeling better on Tuesday, but not quite enough to check out Krystos and Antique Scream at the Red Room.  Thankfully, I felt fit as a fiddle by last Wednesday, which meant that I could go down to this show at Neurolux featuring Black Bolt, a punk/garage-ish band that I hadn't seen in a good long while, and Stepbrothers, a local act I'd never seen before.  And of course, JamesPlaneWreck's presence on the bill didn't hurt either.

I counted about twenty people including the musicians when I got to Neurolux.  The audience would build to about thirty.  Not bad, considering that it was a Wednesday night and miserably cold outside.

Stepbrothers opened the night.  BANG! BAM! SCREECH! went their instruments during their soundcheck.  "We're writing a song now," one of them quipped.  I got the feeling right about then that I was gonna like these guys. Their twangy, tuneful basslines, thrashing drums, manic riffing and charmingly caterwauling vocals proved me right.  Their songs and arrangements were so sharp and their deadpan banter so funny that their oh-so-familiar pop-punk whine didn't bug me in the least.

Black Bolt played next.  These guys seemed to have tightened up a notch or five since I saw them at the Venue last May.  Their buzzsaw riffs, stinging leads, rail-greasing basslines and quick, clipped drumming all felt much more assured, which made their rowdy, catchy punk-tunes hit harder.  I'm on the fence about the guttural growl that leader Dustin Verberg adopted for his singing: it didn't do the songs any favors, but it was a nice change of pace from that pop-punk whine.  Then again, it didn't hurt the songs either, which I thought said good things about both the songs themselves and Verburg's brains.

JamesPlaneWreck closed out the night.  These guys were clearly in a good mood--Shane Brown and Aaron Smith joked around with each other and with the audience between songs (I heard shouts of "Bon Jovi!" and "Freebird!" from the crowd).  When they played, however, it was all business (well, mostly).  Their growled vocals, grinding riffs, twangy leads, rubbery bass and powerhouse drums all sounded in fine, thunderous form.  I swear, the out-of-staters at Treefort are not gonna know what hit 'em when this band plays.

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

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