Or, how I spent a very, very long (but so fun!) Saturday in Downtown Boise.
Nothing like rocking (and drinking) from 1pm to 1am to make you feel like an adult. Seriously, where did my life go and what have I become? And wait, there is still another day left?
Shook Twins (Main Stage)
This was one of the bands I was most excited to see when I first saw the lineup announcement. These gals are super talented and make music that is compelling and of course has harmonies for days. In my limited exposure to their recorded work, I am used to a stripped down sound that featured just the two leading ladies on vocals and their guitar/banjo combo, but for this performance we were treated to a full band (including a rapping guitarist in an awesome hat).
This was the opening set for Saturday’s main stage lineup and they got it started with a bang. One of the highlights of my Saturday, this performance started with my favorite song of theirs, “Shake”, including the use of a distorted mic that looked like a golden phone. After talking about the gun-control rally they had attended at the Idaho Capital earlier in the day (part of a larger nation-wide effort that morning), they played an anti-Trump ballad to close out the show. The song featured this refrain: “My God, what have we done to ourselves?”
The Seshen (Main Stage)
Not bad, pretty funky beats, but not really my jam. Just biding my time for Low Cut Connie, and recruiting people to join me up front for what I promised would be a solid show.
Low Cut Connie (Main Stage)
This piano/guitar rock outfit from Jersey was a late addition to the festival lineup, and I was very anxious to see them. Their Neurolux show last May was a highlight of my 2017 concert experiences, and Adam and his band didn’t disappoint. This was about as enjoyable as a 40-minute mid-day show can be, and included a few of my favorite LCC songs: “Rio”, “Angela”, Boozaphillia”. Their “Rio” performance was a 7-minute affair that included a prolonged intro and some Adam & crowd interaction (see pic below).
Adam has a hard time sitting still…
Adam meets some of his friends in the crowd. No, I didn’t reach out and touch him…
Meanwhile the band played on…
The songs are good enough to carry the day on their own, but frontman Adam Weiner is a true showman. Between preaching his love for the city of Boise, the state of Idaho, and each and every person in the crowd, gyrating on his piano, awkwardly taking off/ripping his clothes, and repeatedly jumping into the crowd to shake hands and dance with us, we were all hooked.
This guy looks different than he did when the show started…
Back In School
Death and Destruction
Shake It Little Tina
Spotify Playlist link:
Hanni El Khatib “interview”
When we walked in to the Neurolux to see another performance of The Muckers, we spotted Hanni sitting down enjoying some music and an adult beverage. When he got up I took the opportunity to chat with him for a few minutes. No, I didn’t take a picture, that would have been rude. However, he did confirm that he had in fact taken ecstasy just before his performance the night before, as he had claimed during that set. He also gleefully informed us that he had intentionally missed his Saturday afternoon flight so that he could enjoy another Treefort/Boise day, and had booked a first class flight home for Sunday. Rock and roll, kids, pure rock and roll…
The Muckers (Neurolux)
My buddy Greg noticed last minute that The Muckers were scheduled to play again, and we had a small gap in planned itinerary, so we trekked over to see some more amazing guitar heroics. Once this band finds a vocalist, they have a shot to do some damage.
Horse Feathers (Linen)
After a sojourn at Alefort (shout out to NW craft beer and good friends), we rolled over to the Linen Building to see up and coming indie-folk group Horse Feathers. While the show was pretty good, and these Lumineers-esque musicians likely have a bright future ahead of them, they sure were finicky.
The nature of a music festival such as this leads to quick turnarounds, with only about 20 minutes between sets for the dismantling of one group’s equipment and setup/sound check of the next. This is highly entertaining for me to watch, but is no doubt stressful for the artists. And, it leads to less than ideal sound and inevitable tweaking during the performance. Most bands work through it as they go, but these guys stopped, fidgeted, complained, and re-started too many times for my taste.
One last note: several times throughout the performance the lead singer sounded so eerily close to Ray LaMontagne that I cannot be sure if it was something he was forcing or actually what he sounds like.
Note that in this picture, the artists are screwing with their instruments and not playing. This is a bit representative of the set as a whole…
La Misa Negra (Hannah’s)
We showed up a bit early to make sure we could get in to the Thunderpussy set, and caught the last half of La Misa Negra. No pic – trust me that they looked and sounded the same as the night before. By this time, I was loaded enough that the bird call was even more entertaining, and I enjoyed shouting along.
My friend said it best after the show: These gals seriously rock, and put on a fantastic show, but it is not likely that one would spend too much time seeking out their studio recordings to listen to. This is pretty standard rock and roll, with a sound that reminds one of 70s/AOR style stuff many of us grew up on – but it is not in any way remarkable. Having said that, their live show has been pretty remarkable both times I have seen them. They also treated us to two terrific covers that had the crowd singing along: Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)” and Tom Petty’s “Refugee”.
Bringing the Thunder…