Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tango Alpha Tango, Sun Blood Stories and Modesto @ Neurolux (6/11/13)

I saw Tango Alpha Tango at Tom Grainey's last year.  I'd started a blog only six days prior and didn't have a clear conception for it.  As I listened to them and another Portland band, Violet Isle, a light bulb went off over my head.  "Hey," I thought, "why don't I write about these guys?"  The rest is history.

So when I saw that Tango Alpha Tango would be returning to Boise, I didn't care that I'd seen all of the acts on the bill before.  I immediately gave the show a spot on the calendar.

I counted over thirty people when I got to Neurolux.  When Tango Alpha Tango played, there were about fifty, thirty of whom stayed inside.  Not bad.

Modesto opened the show with their best performance yet (that I've seen, anyway).  Their groove struck just the right balance of tight and loose.  Their shifts in dynamics and tempo felt smoother, which rendered their sharp arrangements even more impressive.  And while I could complain that their lyrics still felt a little too generic, songwriting in and of itself seemed a bit beside the point.  Instead, the songs served more as excuses for the thunderous riffs, yowling solos, liquid basslines and sly, slippery drumming to weave with and bounce off each other.  For now, that's enough: more than any band I've heard lately, these guys conveyed the pure joy of making music as a group.

Sun Blood Stories' set proved a bit disconcerting.  Not that they sounded bad; their scorching wah-wah guitar, screeching sax and lumbering, funky grooves sounded as sexy and menacing as ever.  It was just strange to see so few people watching them.  Eh, whatever; there were still a handful of folks getting down, and they got some good applause at the end.  This set featured some pounding, hypnotic new material that should go over well with larger audiences.

Tango Alpha Tango closed out the night and sounded even better than I remembered.  While Nathan Trueb's protean soloing called to mind Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan once again, his vocals sounded fuller, deeper and defter.  He found strong support in Mirabai Carter-Trueb's unassumingly fluid bass, Aaron Trueb's spooky keyboard and their new drummer's subtle, steady work.  They handled jazzy swing, roiling funk, Zeppelin stomp, country-blues bounce and Crazy Horse chug with equal assurance.  Nathan Trueb promised that they'd come back again.  Judging from the dancing and cheering, I doubt that the crowd will mind.  I sure won't.

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 yellow "Give" button and donate whatever you can.  Even $5 would help.

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