I was one busy music editor this weekend. Along with my usual stint at the Core for the Battle of the Bands on Saturday, I had promised one local singer/guitar player I would come listen to him at Opa and I had promised myself that I would go hear Pretty Girls Make Graves at the Venue. So I started there.
Since Boise Weekly and the Venue share a building, it wasn't much of a trek to get to the Venue from work. However, I had (and still have) plenty of work to do, so I got to the show a little late. I missed ValenXthine--although I did get a chance to hear them rock the house during Round Two of the Battle of the Bands--but I was in time to hear Speed of Shark. And I have to say that this band is really quite good. Their songs are melodic and danceable but have a hard edge. Most of the songs I heard were sung by their female vocalist/guitar player, who sings in a clear, lovely voice. Obviously influenced by Sonic Youth, Speed of Shark has a refreshing, unique sound that combines a number of styles. I like the fact that they put as much effort into their lyrics as they do the rest of their music and I really enjoyed hearing and seeing them perform. They were a great opening choice for Pretty Girls Make Graves.
Pretty Girls is another group that puts engergy and emotion into singing and what the song means and even when the lyrics are a little strange (they have a song about castles. PGMG fans know the song I'm referring to). In a world where singing has given way to guttural, monotonous screaming, Andrea Zollo's voice is such a breath of fresh, passionate air. I'm glad I caught this show and I hope they come back through town again soon.
After Pretty Girls, I headed across town to Opa to catch Ryan Peck. When I walked through the door, he was in mid-song and I was immediately entranced. Peck's singing and playing are quite beautiful. He uses a variety of pedals and employs guitar looping skills (a form of musical expression I am doing my homework on) to add rich layers to each song. As a singer/songwriter, he's amazing and if this is something he wants to pursue, I will not be surprised someday in the future to hear a radio DJ say, "Ryan Peck's newest release has just gone platinum." What really got me though, was his homage to a stupendous band. As a diehard Radiohead fan, I don't have a lot of patience for covers of their songs. However, Peck's version of "Karma Police" had me singing right along and I just know that if Thom Yorke had been at Opa Friday night hanging out with me (I wish), enjoying delicious cocktails and free appetizers, he would have joined right in.