by Josh Gross
Sunday saw some killer tunes at The Crux, thanks to the team at Duck Club Presents.
Los Angeles-based No Paws was late to the show, so Bellingham, Wash.'s Learning Team—which featured two native Boiseans and a set of antlers on its drum kit—kicked things off with a set of driving indie-rock tunes.
The band's first three tracks were mid-tempo rockers that sanded the edges of the tones with reverb and texture, presenting the songs like smudged-together blurs of sound. There were also some nice dual guitar leads thrown in.
The fourth song—which the singer said was inspired by the circulatory system of the blue whale, a classic songwriting trope if ever there was one—slowed things down a bit, opening with a nice twinkling arpeggio on the electric guitar with drones of cello and thundering toms laying the foundation.
"This one is actually our favorite to play," the band noted.
The next song also broke from Learning Team's form with a country shuffle on the drums and washes of reverb on minor chords from the guitar. The band had elements of folk and new wave and even a few country licks here and there. The only drawback was that some of the group's most-interesting elements—including cello, banjo, Casiotone and vocal melodies—were lost in the mix and, occasionally, in the arrangement.
Local institution Finn Riggins played next, blasting out a powerhouse set that proved the band is at its best in a small space, compacted into a V-shaped attack formation.
After that was a set from some of the nation's leading researchers into cacophonous racket: Tartufi. The San Francisco band has taken a more-major key approach with its newer tunes, one that suits it well. The new sounds also match bass player Benjamin Thorne's pink gorilla suit.
The evening was finished off with a set from No Paws, which showed up about halfway through the night and dropped some furious drumming beneath twin synths. It was a great sound, kind of like a louder New Order, but, sadly, most of the crowd had left at that point.