Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Parenthetical Girls, With Child and Ugly Hussy @ the Flying M Concert-Garage (4/4/13)

Show me a band I've never seen who's set to play the Flying M and I'll show you a band I want to check out.  That was most of the thinking that went into my putting this concert on the calendar.  It helped too, though, that people whose taste I respect were excited about Parenthetical Girls coming to Idaho.  The presence of With Child and Ugly Hussy on the bill seemed promising as well.

I counted fourteen people or so wandering around when I got out there.  When Parenthetical Girls played, I counted about forty-five.  Not bad for a Thursday in Nampa, I suppose.

Ugly Hussy opened the night.  This gentleman seemed to have grown in confidence since I saw him back in January (playing Treefort can help with that).  He conjured up his mist of sunny tunes, chiming licks and clanging beats with impressive ease and gracefulness.  Since he only had a guitar, his music had a lighter and airier feel than that of, say, Iconoplasty.  That's not a bad thing; indeed, that just means that he has his own sound.

With Child played next.  I know it's petty, but families like the Hustons and the Redgraves frustrate me just a little.  I mean, c'mon--why they gotta hog all the talent?  Why can't they spread some of that around?  I felt a little bit of that as I listened to Noah Jensen's curling basslines, to Jeremy Jensen's clipped, elegant, melodic soloing and to Elijah Jensen's friendly croon, intriguing lyrics and mega-catchy melodies (his solos were pretty sharp too).  Good thing Ethan Smith, whose strong work behind the drumkit hammered the whole package home, isn't related.  Otherwise, it just might be more than I could bear.

Parenthetical Girls closed out the night.  Between their bouncy, shiny tunes and frontman Zac Pennington's moves like Jagger and voice like Wainwright (Rufus, that is), this Portland group probably could've done well at a place like the Knitting Factory.  Of course, if I'd seen them there, I wouldn't have seen Pennington strut among the crowd, sing while stretched out on a table, walk on the wooden wall that runs along the stage and climb up to the Flying M's mezzanine.  Besides, while their hard beats, chicken-scratch guitar and serene synthesizer would have held up fine, the wit and sass of the lyrics might have lost something in a larger venue.  The intimacy of Pennington's dry, friendly banter would have suffered too (I especially appreciated his shout-out to the late Roger Ebert).  It took the crowd a little while to loosen up (Pennington teased a particularly stoic cluster of kids seated up front), but a bunch of people were up and dancing by the end.  They also helped make sure that the mic cord didn't get tangled while Pennington was roaming around.

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

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