by Josh Gross
More than 160 people were through the doors of the Linen Building by the time Boise band Edmond Dantes went on stage at the Feb. 23 release party for its debut EP, Etta.
Unfortunately, most of them were still seated, leaving the dance floor a giant empty space that might as well have been hot lava.
"Check that man. He's got a trumpet," said singer Andrew Stensaas "That's Joe. And Jason on drums. We hope you enjoy the show."
Then the band cut into one of the Hall and Oates-esque numbers from Etta.
Edmond Dantes is the rare local band that embraces the concept of pop without it being derivative. And its classic influences—everything from Otis Redding to The Killers—are clearly displayed on the tightly composed and performed songs on Etta. However the band on the record is two members: Ryan Peck and Andrew Stensaas, both instructors at Boise Rock School. And the songs are the type of pop that is Springsteen-like in its deception: sounding simple when played by a trio, but really best performed in a stadium by a dozen or more criminally smooth backup players.
As a trio, and one that added a new drummer only weeks before the show, Edmond Dantes lacked some of the desired oomph and tightness at the outset. But things started to pick up—and the dance floor started to fill in—as the set moved on and the band brought out a variety of guest stars, including kids.
"These are two of the members of Hollywood Hotel, a band I teach," said Stensaas. " So everything good they do is a direct reflection of who I am as a person."
The song performed with a student from the rock school on drums was actually one of the band's tightest.
"Guess who just got a gig for the rest of the show," said Stensaas. "Just kidding. Jason get back up here."
With the exception of someone yelling out "Tiny Tim" like a goober, a melancholy ukulele and synthesizer duet went over quite well. And as it was pointed out, "it's tough to play ukulele with sweaty palms."
But the standout moment of the evening was a dance to the band's song "No Good So Good," choreographed by Trey McIntyre Project dancers Benjamin Behrends and Lauren Edson—who is married to Stensaas.
After that, things filled back in for the band's closing number, "I Don't Like You."
At the end, someone yelled encore. But there was no encore to be had.