by Josh Gross
A capacity crowd packed into the Independent Film Channel's Vice Bar on Austin's famed Sixth Street strip Wednesday night to see some of Boise's best bands rock their hearts out.
More than 200 were through the door when Hillfolk Noir took the stage at 7 p.m., and they just kept coming, packing in tighter and tighter until there was prescious little room to move, even in the club's two balconies. After Hillfolk Noir's opening set, Le Fleur, The Brett Netson Band, Finn Riggins, Youth Lagoon and Built to Spill took turns kicking in the audience's ears.
The whole show was also filmed for broadcast on the IFC.
Most of the people this reporter spoke to were there to see Built to Spill, and had simply come early for fear the show would be full. But those same people also expressed pleasant surprise at the wealth of talent Boise had brought to the show. A band on an off-night even did their best to convince Le Fleur to play a show with them on the East Coast.
It was not without missteps. Brett Netson had to stop in his first song because the bass amp was not working. Travis Ward of Hillfolk Noir seemed to break his guitar strap during every song. And the batteries in Youth Lagoon's beat machine died on stage and had to be changed.
"Does anyone have a joke to tell," Trefor Powers asked awkwardly into the mic, hoping to pass the time without dead air. No one did. But a girl in the front row did take the opportunity to scream, "I love you!"
Perhaps the standout moment of the shows was during an especially energetic set from Finn Riggins. The last several shows of the band's tour to SXSW had been somewhat underwhelming and Finn Riggins was clearly thrilled to have an audience. Guitarist Lisa Simpson even leaped to execute an air-chord.
The defining moment came in the band's signature song, "Wake," when they sang the words: "gotta keep this town alive, gotta keep this song alive." The passion blasting off stage made it clear they were powerful words, but the packed house that erupted in applause made it clear they were words that had been put into action as well.
Later, Finn Riggins keyboardist Eric Gilbert told BW that someone approached him to say that they had known about Idaho's whitewater, but not that it had so many great bands.
"That is why we're here," Gilbert told him.
Backstage, the members of Hillfolk Noir were getting rightously drunk. They had earned it.
You can read more about the SXSW showcase and its lead-up to Treefort Music Fest in next week's Boise Weekly.