Parker Millsap (The Olympic – Boise) – 10/23/18

My homeboy from Oklahoma finally makes his way to Boise and rocks quite a bit more than expected.

Opener: Andrew Sheppard

I had seen this local musician a few times before, and although he was not the reason we were there, he provided a worthy opening set.  If you listen to Andrew’s albums, you would be surprised at how much better he is in person than on those studio recordings.  This guy may be small in stature, but he has soul and is big on persona and talent.  However, as I said, with all due respect to the man, he was not the reason for the evening…


Headliner: Parker Millsap

I have been firmly entrenched in Parker’s camp since I first heard his 2016 release The Very Last Day.  I highly recommend that album, which I can best describe as an Americana/blues/folk religious experience.  See, my man Parker has been singing and playing guitar for people since he was a very young man.  He got his start playing in his church in his Purcell, Oklahoma home, and was signed to a record label as a teen.


Although he made some of his best music in that early phase, he has recently begun a second act (of which I hope there are many, considering that at four albums in he is still only 24 years old) that features a more rock-oriented sound.  In fact, his latest record was his first to include electric instrumentation (sort of a Dylan without the Newport Folk relevance type thing).


I recently reviewed his May 2018 album Other Arrangements which finds him honing into an electric guitar rock-oriented sound.  I won’t belabor that album too much, because you can give it a listen and/or check out my review if you have the patience to go back and find it, but he did bust out much more of the “new sound” on this set than I had anticipated.  He played a nice blend of his older folksier stuff and the new material throughout the evening.  In fact, although I was preoccupied and didn’t manage the setlist as I typically do (thanks, B), the kid did play all of my favorite jams…


Speaking of the perfect setlist, we got several tracks from The Very Last Day including the blues stomp of “Hades Pleads” complete with the dog-like heavy breathing, the plodding and oh so lovely apocalyptic title track, as well as the robbery sympathizing “Hands Up” (which we gladly raised our hands for) and the slow and steady highlight of the night “You Gotta Move” that is seemingly impossible for a kid barely old enough to drink to have written.  From the new album, sprinkled throughout the night, we also got all of my favorites: “Fine Line” with its obvious lead single charm; the title track which played live very well; the Chris Issak-esque yearning of “Tell Me”; and the glory that is “Your Water”.  The latter track features the fantastic chorus “I was wounded, I was wasted, I was blind up until I tasted your water; it floods my memory and it quenches my soul”.

Instead of the cheesy encore routine, Parker told us that he had thoroughly enjoyed our company and that he had one left, and then he and his band started up on the tongue-in-cheek complaint that is “Some People” – a two minute riff on shitty and aggressive drivers and their “Tonka trucks”, which rocks pretty hard for what is basically an old man “get off my lawn” song.

All in all, this was a great set, a great time, at a great venue.  Honestly, the Olympic is flirting with passing Neurolux as my favorite place to see live music in Boise… it’s becoming a closer and closer 2nd, anyway..

Parker Millsap – Other Arrangements Spotify link:

Parker Millsap – The Very Last Day Spotify link: