Monday, April 15, 2013
The Weeks and Jonny Fritz @ Neurolux (4/9/13)
I was having coffee with a friend when the subject of this show came up. My friend lit up like a roman candle as she started talking about the Weeks. I took that as a sign that I should check this deal out. Also, I was curious to see Jonny Fritz a.k.a. Jonny Corndawg, having missed the show with him and the Devil Makes Three at the VaC last November. I just hoped the crowd wouldn't be too massive (the previous show had sold out).
Well, it wasn't massive, anyway. I counted a little over twenty people when I got to Neurolux. When the Weeks played, there were about thirty.
Jonny Fritz opened the show. He and fiddle player Joshua Hedley may have looked like the sh*t-kicking rednecks of arty liberal jokes/nightmares, but their clean tenor harmonies were pure and true enough for the Louvin Brothers. Meanwhile, Fritz's lyrics took old-school country tropes down the road apiece; one song featured him telling a married lady to text him if she wants to hook up. Not up there with James McMurtry but still among the better Americana acts I've heard lately. Highlights included Fritz's original "Time Marches On," which encompasses three or four decades of familial and societal changes in three minutes, and Hedley's solo cover of George Jones's "A Good Year for the Roses." The latter was so lived-in and quietly devastating that I could've cried into my Mutton Buster (the hole in the can was a bit too small for that, though).
The Weeks played next. It figured that these guys hailed from Mississippi. Their blend of country, southern rock, soul and funk might have gotten the nod from Ronnie Van Zant hisself (yeah, I know he was from Jacksonville, but you know what I mean). I couldn't make out many of the lyrics, but their fiery guitar, limber rhythm section, sparkling keyboard and smooth, stolid baritone vocals were so appealing that I didn't much care. What I heard sounded pretty good, though: grounded, class-conscious, all that nice stuff. Anyway, the modest crowd whooped, clapped and boogied it up. Plus, Neurolux got to put its sweet new light show to use. Dig that twirling, multicolored circle.
You can find info on these acts on Facebook and elsewhere online. Special thanks to Eric Gilbert and Radio Boise. If you like what you've read and would like to help keep it going, click the "Give" button in the upper right-hand corner and donate whatever you can. Every little bit helps.