Thursday, August 15, 2013

Finn Riggins, Jared Mees and Lionsweb @ Neurolux (8/1/13)

As I've written elsewhere, Finn Riggins was the band that sparked my interest in the Boise music scene.  After I saw them play the VaC one night (opening for tUnE-yArDs, if I recall correctly), I thought, "Wow, if a band like this calls Boise home, what else could be out here?"

This band represents another first for me: I wrote my first Boise Weekly feature about them recently.

So with all of this going for them, no way was I going to miss their last show for the foreseeable future.  As an added bonus, this concert presented me with a couple more firsts--specifically, the chance to see Portland musician Jared Mees and local act Lionsweb for the first time.

The audience at Neurolux already numbered about sixty when I arrived.  When Finn Riggins took the stage, there were so many people that I didn't even bother to count.  Unsurprisingly, I saw quite a few familiar faces in the crowd (Kelsey Swope, Sun Blood Stories, Lori Shandro, Sam Stimpert, Stephanie Coyle, etc.).

Lionsweb a.k.a. Bronwyn Leslie kicked off the show.  I'd heard good things from quite a few people about this local musician.  As soon as she launched into her a capella opening number, I realized that they weren't jiving.  Leslie's bluesy, powerful voice silenced all of the chatter in the room within seconds.  Her vocals and her haunting, Appalachian-esque songs sounded just as impressive bedecked with her simple guitar and piano (even if the chatter picked back up by the bar).  Andy Rayborn contributed some tasteful clarinet.  Some oddball black-and-white montages by Tyler Walker complemented the music's ominousness.

I'm lucky that I got to see her here; she and Kelsey Swope will be going on tour soon with their new project, Psycho Adorable (which, incidentally, I also wrote about in the Weekly).

Jared Mees played next.  When I interviewed him for the Finn Riggins piece, Eric Gilbert urged me to check out Mees's music.  Said he thought it'd be just my thing.  I doubt that he said that because Mees runs Tender Loving Empire, the label which Finn Riggins is signed to.  Anyway, he wasn't wrong.  The slight whine in Mees' rough tenor just added a little flavoring to his conversational delivery.  His punky folk/country tunes and smart, no-bullsh*t lyrics hit the part of me that admires Patterson Hood and Jason Isbell.  "Hiccup drunk in a pickup truck" has to be one of the best rhymes I've heard in a good while.

Finn Riggins' performance wasn't the most intense I've heard from them.  The set's casual feel didn't seem like a bad thing, however; it was like they were saying, "Hey, we're not going anywhere."  Besides, it's not like they didn't sound good: Lisa Simpson's pregnancy didn't seem to have affected her pipes much, Eric Gilbert's keyboards clanged and droned nicely and Cameron Bouiss was as smooth, precise and hard-hitting as ever (I feel kinda bad that I didn't include more about him in the Weekly article).

Anyway, what came through strongest during this set was the groove, the rapport both between the three bandmates and between the band and their audience.  This was especially true at the end, when Jared Mees came onstage to play a loose, loping jam with Finn Riggins.  The crowd cheered and whooped when the band finished and Bouiss wrestled playfully with Mees on the floor.  A good farewell (for now).

You can find info on these acts on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Eric Gilbert and Duck Club Presents.

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