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.

You can find info on these acts on Facebook and elsewhere online.  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.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Calley Bliss and Angie Gillis @ the Sapphire Room (Riverside Hotel) (5/25/13)

I would've liked to have attended this year's Ranch Fest, but I needed to stay around Boise this past weekend.  One of my oldest friends graduated from BSU, and no way in hell was I gonna miss his celebration party.  It worked out well overall: the party was fun times (the morning after, not as much), and the open spot in my Saturday schedule gave me the chance to check out this Idaho Songwriters Association show.

There were about thirty-five people in the Sapphire Room when I arrived.  The official count of the evening was ninety, a number that my own count bore out.  Very respectable.

Local musician Angie Gillis opened the show.  If you've seen her tending bar at the Red Room, you know that this is one smart, tough dame (got good taste in music too: I remember her putting on Exile On Main St. one night).  Anyway, I was glad to find that these qualities carried over into her music.  Her breathy vocals may have reminded some of my indie-centric brethren of Cat Power, but her plainspoken, no-bullsh*t lyrics were much closer to Loretta Lynn or Miranda Lambert.  And actually, her singing had plenty of spunk in it too: on one number, she adopted a nice, sarcastically girly screech to emphasize the middle finger that she was giving some guy stupid enough to tell her how a woman should behave.  Gillis came off as a little nervous--she had to turn away from the relatives sitting up front at one point--but her voice, words, solid country tunes and good sense of rhythm still earned some loud cheers and whistles from the crowd (and not just her family either).

Up next was Calley Bliss.  With her polished jazz-pop tunes and yearning, thoughtful lyrics, Bliss went down much smoother than Gillis did.  She had her share of piss and vinegar, though: she capped off her first set with a sweetly, sensibly strident anti-Monsanto number ("Let's bankrupt those suckers.").  The populist in me also appreciated the opening sing-along of U2's "MLK" (Bliss thoughtfully provided the lyrics on slips of paper) and the guest spots that she gave her music students (she wasn't just being nice; some of those kids could play).  But whatever your feelings about her politics, her vocals could not be denied.  Warm, strong, low and lustrous, Bliss's voice may not be the most beautiful that I've ever heard, but it's definitely in the ninetieth percentile.  Throughout, bassist Tom Jensen and pianist Dustin Wilson provided sensitive support.  It's just a shame that I found out about her so late--she'll be moving to New York soon.

You can find info on Calley Bliss on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Rich O'Hara, Martha Hopper and the Idaho Songwriters Association.  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.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The PirkQlaters, the Useless, JamesPlaneWreck and Skittish Itz @ the Knitting Factory (5/23/13)

"I know you motherf*ckers know the words!" Ryan Sampson shouted midway through the second song.  And he was right: when the chorus rolled around again, the lyrics boomed out from the crowd.

I didn't really know the words.  In fact, prior to this show, I'd never heard nor seen the PirkQlaters before.  I knew the name, however, and their rep as Boise's premier ska band.  Also, I'd come to like many of the band's members both as musicians and as people; Sampson's last project, the now-defunct Hotel Chelsea, was one of the best punk bands in town, and I really don't want to think about how many drinks I've bought from him, Red Kubena, Justin Andrews and Luke Strother over the years.  Anyway, when I added all of this up, I had more than enough reason to check out this Knitting Factory show, which marked the PirkQlaters' rebirth.

There were already ninety people there when I arrived.  When the PirkQlaters played, there were so many that I didn't even bother to count.  I'll say this much, though: except maybe for Sonic Youth, I can't remember any other Knitting Factory show that was so well-attended.  I saw plenty of familiar faces as well, including Ivy Meissner, Dustin Verberg (Black Bolt), Josh Gross, Geno Lopez (the Sneezz), Travis Abbott (Obscured By the Sun) and at least two members of Piranhas (who were originally on this bill but didn't play, for some reason).

Local punk band Skittish Itz opened the show.  "It's not rocket surgery," lead singer Russ Worstell's t-shirt said.  Stupid on the surface but clever when you think about it--suited this band very well, I thought.  Not that their music sounded dumb; it was just that their catchy melodies and buzzsaw riffs did their damnedest to perpetuate that so-simple-anyone-can-do-it punk myth.  Their smart lyrics, complex arrangements, indomitable drums and fluid solos gave the lie, however.  But that just made their love of punk's idealized simplicity even more commendable.

JamesPlaneWreck played next.  After the show, a member of this band told me that they felt uncomfortable being on that big stage.  I can understand that, but from where I was standing, they looked and sounded as if they belonged up there.  Blasting out of the Knitting Factory's speakers, "F*ckin' With Ghosts" and "When We Start to Fold" never sounded more anthemic.  Aaron Smith's rough voice and guitar roared, Shaun Shireman's bass surged along underneath, Shane Brown carved some stinging leads out of his Idaho-shaped guitar and Andrew Bagley redlined his drums.  When the tip of Bagley's drumstick broke off at the end, I couldn't help but wonder why that doesn't happen more often.

Up next was the Useless.  Any fears that one may have had of a restrained, tactful performance were swiftly allayed by the blow-up doll that the band set down on the PirkQlaters' drum kit (it didn't stay up there for too long: one of the horn players chucked it into the pit, where the crowd proceeded to toss it, swing it around and bap each other on the head with it).  Anyway, this groups' throaty vocals, curling guitar licks, woozy brass and bouncy rhythms all sounded as winningly raucous as ever.  In keeping with the revivalist spirit of the evening, when people called out for a number from their straight-up punk days, the band busted it out in spite of their protests as to their age, weight and blood-alcohol level.  The mosh circle started up as soon as the first number kicked into gear, and the crowd in the pit kept up the cheering, jumping, dancing, chanting and fist-pumping straight through to the end.

The PirkQlaters provided a truly grand finale to the night.  Kris Simmons's chugging, melodic bass and Chris Devino's rip-roaring drums provided the engine for the blitzkrieg ska and pop-punk tunes.  Red Kubena's dreads flailed as he slashed away at his guitar, and his and Aaron Clayton's buzz complemented Ryan Sampson's manic chicken-scratch.  Meanwhile, Ryan Sampson's tuneful holler sounded in good form, and it met its match in Justin Andrews's rousing harmonies.  Andrews also pitched in with some jabbing saxophone solos and did pretty much everything he could to whip the crowd into a frenzy (strutting and jumping around the stage, hopping onto the drum riser and urging the crowd to clap to the beat, etc.).  Last but definitely not least, College of Idaho professor Luke Strother contributed some elegant trombone work, grinned, slapped his chest, sang along with and without his mic and generally looked the happiest that I've ever seen him.

Almost everyone in the audience was on their feet for the duration of the set.  The pit became a maelstrom of bouncing, moshing, singing, roaring and crowd-surfing.  The Useless's blow-up doll got popped and torn to shreds (I saw someone holding its arm later on).  A bra materialized on Luke Strother's mic stand.  Andy A from Demoni (and Eightball Break, which Sampson cited as the PirkQlaters' biggest influence) came onstage to play bass on a couple of numbers.  Shane Brown hopped onstage with his shirt open and jiggled his belly at the crowd.  Justin Andrews wished audience member Sage Cooper a happy sixteenth birthday and tossed him a frisbee signed by the band (it got tossed off to the side of the stage not long after; hope the kid got it back).  Between songs, Ryan Sampson crammed in jokes, stories, thanks to the audience and shout-outs to original PirkQlater Zak Gilstrap, the openers and the Boise music scene as a whole.

All told, this was easily one of the best shows that I've seen this year.  "And this is not the reunion show," Sampson told the crowd near the end.  "We're back, motherf*ckers!"

Ryan Sampson holding court at the after-party at Sammy's

You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  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.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Telekinesis and Deep Sea Diver @ the Flying M Concert-Garage (5/22/13)

I hadn't heard of Telekinesis prior to this show.  However, I took it as a good sign that Deep Sea Diver, one of my favorite Treefort 2013 acts, was opening for him/them.  I just hoped that more people would show up at this show than at the Couches show on the night before.

Well, a few more people showed up.  The crowd numbered about twenty-five when I arrived and included most if not all of Hollow Wood.  By my estimate, it would peak at somewhere between ninety and a hundred.

Deep Sea Diver played first.  Hey, I never said I wasn't petty.  I enjoyed this Seattle band's Treefort set very much, but when I listened to their album afterwards, the ee-dee-oh-seen-kwah-sees of Jessica Dobson's vocals got on my nerves.  Hearing their warmth and tenderness live again, however, I couldn't help but feel like a bit of a dick.  Dobson's joyous stage presence didn't assuage my guilt.  I managed to put it aside, though, in order to enjoy the strong, smooth beats, the chiming guitars, the rippling keyboards and the 60's pop-tinged tunes once more.  Also, not only can Peter Mansen beat them skins hard, I can't remember the last drummer I saw who was this much fun just to watch (grinning, hair-flailing, etc.).

Telekinesis played next.  I listened to two or three songs and thought, "Damn good indie-pop/rock."  Then I noticed how, on number after number, the turbo-charged rhythms, sunny guitars, ringing keyboard and lovely melodies didn't falter or let up.  Then I noticed the unaffected, un-cutesy forthrightness of Michael Benjamin Lerner's breathy vocals.  Then I started thinking that I should change that "damn good" to "damn great."  A lot of people seemed to reach that conclusion quicker than I did: it took about two songs to get them on their feet and in front of the stage.  The band grinned, bounced and clapped to the beat, and the crowd followed suit.

Before I wrap up this post, I have to share a joke that Telekinesis' bassist told during their set: "Why can't they put a statue of Skrillex in the town square?  Because of the wobbly base."  Hey, I thought that that was hilarious.

You can find info on these bands on Facebook and elsewhere online.  If you like what you've read and would like to help keep the blog going, click the "Give" button and donate whatever you can.  Even $5 would help a lot.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Couches, Naked Apes and Teton Avenue @ the Flying M Concert-Garage (5/21/13)

This show caught my attention because it featured Couches, a San Francisco group whose Treefort set I'd missed.  They'd played the previous night with Red Hands Black Feet at the Red Room.  I chose to cover this one instead, however, because 1) I didn't want to miss the Heligoats, 2) I can't write about EVERY goddamn Red Hands Black Feet show, and 3) part of me worried that not many folks would show up.

Being right really does suck sometimes.  I counted seven people when I got to the Flying M.  When Couches played, I counted twelve, most of them members of the other bands.  Oh well.  At least the Shivas' Radio Boise Tuesday show seemed well-attended (judging from the crapload of people I saw out on the patio when I walked by Neurolux later that night).

Teton Avenue opened the show.  In my last write-up on this band, I wrote that they "made me think a little of what the Strokes might sound like if they weren't a bunch of spoiled rich boys."  Their lead singer seemed to have taken that comment to heart: with his shades, his coolly bored demeanor and his talk of "my guitarist" and "my bassist" [italics mine], the guy was the very picture of an a**hole rock frontman.  Thankfully, he joked around enough with his bandmates to show that he didn't take that stuff too seriously.  In any case, their propulsive rhythms, catchy tunes and fluid solos sounded even better than they did at the Torn ACLs show.  They still have some rough edges--a false start here, an unconfident vocal there--but overall, they're coming along nicely.

Naked Apes played next.  Speaking of coming along nicely, this duo may have played their best set yet (that I've seen, anyway).  They slipped around on the beat some, and while Gabe Arellano's low-string riffs do what they can, the bottom end of their sound could use a little filling in.  All the same, their raw vocals, fuzzy guitar and rumbling drums proved immensely enjoyable.  This was especially true in the case of the lumbering, mid-tempo numbers at the end of their set, which also featured some ominous, spacey distortion.  Also, I could hear the lyrics pretty well this time around (not bad, from what I caught).

Couches closed out the night.  Between their tight groove, their smooth tempo shifts and their pleasantly plain vocals, these guys called to mind a less eccentric Built to Spill.  Mike Dubuque's clipped, smartly restrained drumming and Chris Griley's sly basslines provided a sturdy platform for Dave Mitchell's jangling, clanging riffs and terse, tuneful solos.  I warmed to this group quickly, but their love song to California clinched it.  The stuff about dreamers, peace of mind and talking about outer space wasn't bad either, especially since it came with such pretty melodies.  I also appreciated the energy that they put into their performance in spite of the meager crowd.  As for Mitchell's Giants cap, hey, I can respect hometown pride (the Dodgers will rise again, I can feel it...).

You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Nathan Walker and the Flying M.  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.

The Heligoats and Nathan Norton @ the Crux (5/20/13)

I'd missed the Heligoats at Treefort this year, so when I learned that they'd be coming back, I jumped at the chance to catch them.  However, even if they weren't playing, I'd have probably gone to the Crux anyway.  Their open mic, which Vagabond Promotions' Keesha Renna organized, has become a regular stop for me on Monday nights when I don't have a show to cover.  Some of the regulars have impressed me greatly, and such gigging musicians as Eric Larson and Matt Hopper have stopped in to play sets (I hear that the For Fuck's Sake sets are something to see/hear).

I counted about forty people at the Crux when I arrived.  When the Heligoats played, I counted about forty-five.  Pretty good for a Monday.  Hopefully, this'll keep up after Keesha Renna moves away.

Nathan Norton opened for the Heligoats.  Since the open mic serves as a save haven for newcomers, I've resolved not to review the various performers here (though I do take notes on the especially promising ones).  I call fair game with this regular, however, since I first encountered him playing bass for the Bare Bones.  Besides, between his quick, quasi-rapped vocals, his sharp strumming and his relaxed, friendly stage presence, the man seems ready for prime time.  In addition to his tuneful originals about sex, lies, murder, fisting and the Devil, his set featured a mean-spirited rewrite of the White Stripes' "We're Going to Be Friends" and a cover of "The Bed Intruder Song" (here's a link for it, in case you don't remember).  The latter was so hilarious that it overcame my misgivings over that particular internet phenomenon (the guy's pissed because someone tried to rape his sister, people).

The Heligoats played next.  I'd like to see the full band sometime, but Chris Otepka and Anna Arvan managed more than respectably on their own.  Otepka's anxious tenor found solace and support in Arvan's sweet, slightly Olive Oyl-ish coo.  Similarly, the spruce folk-rock tunes and the confident rhythms helped the lyrics about spiders, eco-horror, shredding the back of your retina and the dark hidden in our hearts go down.  Most welcome as well was Otepka's deadpan, cockeyed banter ("I love my Hollywood starlets!").  Not too cute, not too arch, but just right.

You can find info on the Heligoats on Facebook and elsewhere online.  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.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Virginmarys and the Blaqks @ Neurolux (5/15/13)

"The Virginmarys?"  I said as I perused the Neurolux concert calendar for May.  "That's an interesting name. Wonder what they're like."  So I looked them up on Spotify, listened to a handful of songs and liked what I heard very, very much.  Definitely worth paying $5, I thought, especially considering that they probably wouldn't be back around anytime soon (they're from the UK).

I counted a little over forty people at Neurolux when I arrived.  The crowd stayed at about that number over the course of the show.  Pretty good for a Wednesday.

The Blaqks kicked off the night.  The more I'm exposed to it, the more innocuous this group's sex-drugs-and-rock-&-roll schtick seems.  There's something a bit cartoonish about it; I want to liken it to, say, four guys from New York dressing in leather and writing lyrics about Nazis, sniffing glue and beating on brats with baseball bats.  Wishful thinking?  Maybe, but if so, it's because, like the Ramones, the Blaqks boast consistently catchy tunes.  Also, unlike the Ramones (well, early Ramones, anyway), they can really play--their slick, weaving interplay reminded me once again of the Soft White Sixties, and I guess that you could classify guitarist Tyger Blaqk as Mick Taylor to Danny and Jonny Blaqk's Jagger and Richards.  I'll definitely look forward to the EP that they said that they'll be working on.

The Virginmarys played next.  Maybe it's just me, but people seem to take hard rock for granted nowadays. You could maybe blame classic rock radio--I adore the Stones and the Who, but even I'll admit that "Brown Sugar" and "Baba O'Riley" lose something when you hear them fifty times a day.  The ascendancy of punk and metal are probably factors too.  The noxiousness of some of its adherents both "classical" (Ted Nugent, Motley Crue) and modern (Nickelback) doesn't help either.  In any case, every so often, a group will blast all the crap away and show me that there's still some validity to the genre.  These Macclesfield lads were one of those groups.  Matt Rose's booming bass and Danny Dolan's slamming drums propelled Ally Dickaty's melodious growl, thunderous riffs and terse, ripping solos onward.  Not only would their tunes sound great blasting out of your car stereo or the Knitting Factory's speakers, a review of their lyrics will reveal that Dickaty can use the head on his shoulders as well as the one in his pants (the Clash fan in me appreciates their stubborn streak of class-consciousness).  The crowd cheered wildly after the Virginmarys' first number and kept it up straight through to the end.  Can't fault 'em for that: this was some of the best old-school rock that I've heard in a good long while.

You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  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 could go a long way.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Black Pus and Aan @ Neurolux (5/14/13)

This show caught my interest when I learned that Black Pus was the solo project of Lightning Bolt's Brian Chippendale.  I'd never heard either act, but Lightning Bolt attracted a good deal of buzz when they played the Shredder last September.  It didn't hurt either that the bill included Portland band Aan, whose set at the Red Room last February I'd enjoyed greatly.

I counted sixteen or so people at Neurolux when I arrived.  When Black Pus played, about twenty people were inside watching.  Not a big crowd, but admittedly, this stuff wasn't for all tastes.

Aan opened the show.  As longtime readers have probably noticed, when a regularly returning out-of-state band returns again, I'm prone to make some crack like, "Why don't they just buy a house here?"  I'll refrain from doing that with this two-time Treefort act, however, because I like them more each time that I see them.  Their glittering, stinging guitar, their smoothly eccentric rhythms and their airy synthesizer all sounded in fine form.  So did Bud Wilson's vocals: his growl, flutter and wail proved equally skillful and enjoyable.  Neurolux's flickering lights and twirling lasers complemented Aan's thorny dreaminess very nicely.  Say, actually, why don't these guys buy a house here?

Black Pus played next.  I got the feeling that things were gonna get interesting when I saw Chippendale set up his drums on the dance floor.  I wasn't wrong.  Some people would undoubtedly have found this guy's mix of buzzing, woofing, whoomping, squeeing noises and manic, unyielding drums too friggin' weird.  Me, I found it as cleansing and invigorating as the (now sadly defunct) Finer Points of Sadism.  It helped immensely that this stuff felt genuinely inventive and experimental; I didn't know what kind of sounds were going to come at me at any given moment.  That spirit carried over into the slightly jazzy feel of Chippendale's drumming as well.  This set featured an impromptu cameo by one half of local experimental group For Fuck's Sake, who hollered into Chippendale's mic-mask during the encore while the man bashed away.

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 could go a long way.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Eons, Rocky Mountain District, Banned Books, Rollersnakes and Hot Lava @ the Red Room (5/13/13)

A press release that I received piqued my interest in this show.  A band who makes "beautifully damaged avant-pop music" and opened for Deerhoof, tUnE-yArDs and Delicate Steve?  Sounded like they'd be worth a shot at least.  Also, I'd never seen Hot Lava before and wanted to see how Rollersnakes struck me a second time around.

There were about fifteen people at the Red Room when I arrived.  I don't think that the audience ever rose above twenty for the entire night.  So it goes on a Monday, I guess.

Hot Lava kicked off the night's music.  This young local band sounded a little stiff here and there--their lead singer admitted that they hadn't played in a while--but overall, they got a more than decent groove going.  They had plenty of other stuff going for them too: well-crafted songs, chugging bass, charging beats, rousing riffs.  I guess you could call them pop-punk, but that doesn't sound quite right.  Power-pop, maybe?  Halfway between late-seventies punk and early-eighties "new wave"?  In any case, good stuff.

Rollersnakes played next.  Their fuzzy guitar, bashing drums and unvarnished vocals proved every bit as enjoyable as they did at last January's Rich Hands show.  Probably more, actually, since I could reflect on just how sharp their riffs and tunes are.  Also, while they still seemed a little shy, they looked and sounded more comfortable and confident than I remembered.

Up next was Banned Books.  I was tempted to call this Philadelphia group what Deerhoof might sound like once the Blue Fairy turns them into a real band, but that's a touch too snarky and not entirely accurate besides.  Still, their jerky, lurching grooves called Deerhoof to mind, and their robust rapport and smoothly crooned vocals topped them.  I don't know how Deerhoof fans would feel about their gleefully ear-wrenching guitar and synthesizer.  Me, I liked them fine.  The meager crowd seemed to as well: almost everyone stayed close to the stage for the duration of the set.

After Banned Books came Rocky Mountain District, the first of two Utah hardcore bands who got added to the bill at the last minute (a gig at the Shredder had apparently fallen through due to some scheduling mix-up).  This may be the only hardcore band I've heard where the silence around the tumult resonated as powerfully as the tumult itself.  Not that this duo's frantic drums, bipolar guitar and howled vocals weren't respectably tortured and furious.  It's just that their penchant for ominous, ambient drones and the spaces in their spare sound gave the music a fascinating screaming-into-the-cold-void feel.  Arty, brooding, lonesome stuff.

Eons closed out the night.  This quintet's sound was more straight-ahead melodic hardcore than Rocky Mountain District's: relentless rhythms, raging guitars, bellowed vocals.  They concentrated most of their power in the bass and drums, however, and their limber groove helped win me over.  It was also nice that they didn't feel the need to show off their chops too much.  Seemed like awfully nice guys as well: they joked around a bit, thanked the audience more than a few times (particularly the Boise friend who'd helped them get this gig), urged people to support Banned Books and movingly disclosed how one song was inspired by a close friend killing himself (condolences to lead singer Matt Wiley).

You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Wes Malvini and the Red Room.  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 could go a long way.