When a lengthy national tour comes to a close, things can get a little strange. This was apparent Saturday at the Red Room for a pairing of Portland, Ore., touring acts, Tu Fawning and the experimental trio AU, both fresh from monthslong tours of the United States and Europe.
Both bands were ready to go home, but not without ditching the jitters which accompany the early sets of a tour. Instead, they improvised.
For much of the evening, a large husky laid in the middle of the dance floor, with AU's Dana Valatka and Luke Wyland pausing early and often to pet the pooch.
After a performance by Boise band Point Break 2 and a lengthy sound check, Tu Fawning stepped before the crowd, lead by frontwoman Corrina Repp. It was drummer Joe Haege's birthday, Repp announced before launching into the band's first track.
"Hello, Les Bois, we are Tu Fawning and we are from Portland, Oregon," Haege introduced the band from his drum set. "And this is our last goddamn night of touring."
The foursome played off one another with ease, switching between digital, acoustic and sometimes big band instruments like horns. Liza Rietz alternated between keys and a violin—her finger-plucking lending a driving force to one of the band's tracks, from which the whole ensemble followed. Repp closed the set by wading into the crowd to bang out a beat on a cowbell.
"Oh, Boise, every time. You guys are so awesome, man," said Repp.
Next came AU, the experimental and sometimes misunderstood band profiled in this week's Boise Weekly. True to form, Holland Andrews' soaring vocals rounded out the band's sometimes cacophonous walls of sound. Most notable was the track "Solid Gold" off 2012's Both Lights, which let Andrews pull the song's leash.
Toward the end of the set, Haege walked onto the stage as AU wrapped up a song, pausing only to slide his tongue across Wyland's head. When all was said and done, the husky crawled out from under a table, his tail wagging.