Friday, May 31, 2013

Julie Byrne, Tony Presley (Real Live Tigers) and Kat Jones @ the Crux (5/27/13)

Kat Jones blew me away when she played the Shredder with Minor Birds last month, so when I saw that she'd be coming back to town, I jumped at the chance to see her again.  It made me happy too to see that she'd be playing the Crux; I figured that she stood a better chance of playing to a larger audience there.  And if it turned out otherwise, I could just go to Neurolux and Mulligan's and force people at gunpoint to come over.

Happily, it didn't come to that.  There were about twenty-five people at the Crux when Kat Jones played, which made this audience at least twice as large as the Shredder show's (even if a chunk of them opted to hang outside).  Jones and two other out-of-state musicians, Tony Presley and Julie Byrne, got tucked into the Crux's Monday open mic.  That struck me as a little odd, but they seemed to take it in stride.  From what I observed, Jones seemed to get a kick out of For Fuck's Sake.

Kat Jones played a half-hour set.  I wish that it could've been longer.  Her eerie, bluesy songs and low, smoky, muscular vocals were every bit as powerful as I remembered.  She shifted between slithery murmur, ear-popping melisma and full-on bellow without sounding strained or histrionic.  Her guitar paralleled her voice: her strumming ebbed and flowed but never lost the beat.  Her performance earned her some boisterous applause and Josh Gross's Boise Weekly email address.  Jones mentioned that she may return in July.  Fingers crossed.

Real Live Tigers a.k.a. Tony Presley played a little later.  Early into his set, I checked out the old paperbacks at his merch setup.  The Grapes of Wrath, The Fire Next Time, Siddhartha.  Pretty impressive overall.  Presley's music wasn't up there with his reading material, but it wasn't doggerel: his stolid groan, lonesome tunes and somber lyrics reminded me alternately of Nebraska, Johnny Cash's American albums (well, except for the second one) and Sour Boy, Bitter Girl.  A bit too austere for everyday listening, but probably good for long nights alone.

Presley's collection of old cassettes wasn't bad either.  R.E.M., Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, the Stones... Ace of Base?  Mariah Carey?

Chicago musician Julie Byrne rounded out the out-of-state acts.  Her misty guitar, breathy vocals and radiant folk melodies shot to the part of me that swoons over Starlings Murmurations and Jan Summerhays.  Listening to her recordings later revealed some intriguing lyrics, but her music was so gorgeous that I might not have cared either way.  Good for long nights alone.  Or together.

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