Saturday, February 23, 2013

Shawn and the Marauders, Jumping Sharks and 605 to San Gabriel @ the Red Room (2/20/13)

On the day after this Red Amp Productions show, I was telling someone about this band from Pocatello that I'd seen the night before.  "There's a band from Pocatello?" the guy asked incredulously.  I'd kinda thought that too originally, which was why I put this show down on the calendar.

There were only about twelve people when I got down to the Red Room.  By the time that Jumping Sharks were midway through their set, the crowd had built to about thirty-five.  Not too bad for a Wednesday.

Local band 605 to San Gabriel opened the night.  I'd thought that this group was pretty good when I saw them at the Shredder last August, and they sounded even more pretty good this night.  I found Tomas Fisher's singing slightly mannered back then but not here.  He and Lorraine Fisher's light, assured vocals blended nicely with the smooth, reggae-ish groove formed by the band's chiming guitar, ringing keyboard and  limber drumming.  Their secret weapon, however, was Jeff Erekson's fluid bass work.

Boise band Jumping Sharks played next.  I remembered being quite impressed by their set at the Mike Watt concert back in October, but I didn't remember them kicking quite so much ass.  Zane Norsworthy's pleasantly plain croon and fiery guitar, Reggie Townley's elastic bass, Mike Swain's elegant keyboard and Ben Wieland's propulsive drums plowed through shifts in tempo and genre like they weren't even there.  The crowd got some good cheering, whistling and dancing going during this set.  My ingrained sense of discretion made me think twice about taking a picture of Reggie Townley after he'd stripped down to a pair of red tights.  But, well...

All in the name of good journalism, people.

Pocatello band Shawn and the Marauders closed out the night.  Early on, I didn't know what to make of this group's unlikely blend of reggae, blues, country, rock and gangsta rap.  Also, I dug Jeff May's wiry guitar and Casey Johnson's sprightly drums well enough, but what was up with Dorian Hitchcock's swooning cello?  After they played a smart, funny boom-chicka-boom number entitled "Raging Alcoholic," however, everything snapped into focus.  Their instrumental and genre mash-up wasn't pandering, I realized, but defiant--the product of guys who figure that life's too damn short to worry about dignity and decorum.  Emblematic of this spirit was leader Shawn Barnby's very evident shitfaced-ness and their cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Head Like a Hole," which featured vastly different chords than the original (Barnby said that they came to him while he was high on opium).  Oddball, charming stuff.  I just hope that their hangovers weren't too bad the next morning.

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