Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Hillfolk Noir, Hymn for Her and Angie Gillis @ the VaC (6/27/13)
According to the press release that I received, Hymn for Her play a guitar made from a cigar box and a broomstick. They also recorded an album in their 1961 Bambi Airstream trailer. These two bits of information were enough to get me intrigued. The reported comparisons to Captain Beefheart, Primus and X and a listen to a couple of their songs sealed the deal.
Sadly, not many others seemed to have shared my interest. I counted four civilians when I got to the VaC. Not even ten people showed up over the course of the night.
Angie Gillis opened the show. She seemed more comfortable and confident here than she did at the Sapphire Room back in May. Playing to a nearly empty room may have helped. So could her having run a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for her first EP. In any case, Gillis's plainspoken lyrics and simple tunes sounded just as impressive. The slight tartness of her singing suited the directness of her words; it seemed to say, "You can take me on my terms or get lost."
Hymn for Her played next. The press release didn't mention anybody comparing this Philadelphia duo to the 13th Floor Elevators, so I'll lay claim to that one right now. Booming, stomping drums mixed with massive, buzzing guitar riffs and alternately ominous and sweet blues/folk/country tunes. Lucy Tight plucked all kinds of mind-bending screeks, scrapes and wakka-wakkas out of her one-string, cigar-box slide. Her angelic croon complemented Wayne Waxing's friendly deadpan nicely. Their godalmighty racket was at once so bizarre and so earthy that it transcended any kind of white trash shtick. I just wish I'd had the money to buy a bottle of their banana jalapeno hot sauce.
Hillfolk Noir closed out the night. My kingdom for a tape recorder: Travis Ward kicked things off with a hilariously profane rant about Boise people sucking for not coming to see Hymn for Her. That set the tone for the rest of their set, with Ward's raucous vocals and greasy slide carousing around with Mike Waite's nimble bass and Alison Ward's limber washboard. Between the riled-up performance, the oddball lyrics ("Give it up for the hobo with the magic hand"?) and the kazoo solos, I couldn't imagine how I'd ever considered this band hokey or genteel. And on a non-musical note, I'll add that I dig Ward's scruffy new look (reminded me a little of Levon Helm).
You can find info on these acts on Facebook and elsewhere online. Special thanks to Wes Malvini and the Evil Wine Show. If you like what you've read and would like to help keep it going, click the yellow "Give" button and donate. Even $5 would help.