The joke goes that when you buy a Maserati, you might as well buy a mechanic. So notorious is the Italian luxury sports car for mechanical failure that such extravagance is now popularly paired with unreliability. The same should never be said about the band, which played a heartbeat-steady set Feb. 28 at Neurolux. In fact, the Athens, Ga., band put the car after which they're named to shame.
A medium-sized crowd had gathered at Neurolux, much of which was outside for a smoke when Maserati began their set. It was the rolling bass emanating from the stage that drew people back inside.
Maserati's isn't dance music. It's not even driving-really-fast music. It's the music that plays in your head when you're running long-distance down an empty road. Long musical statements—muscular, repetitive, strummed guitar lines and vigorous drums—were hung on a skeleton of bass notes and looped guitar.
The band is entirely instrumental, and the lack of vocal presence seemed to transfix the audience into a swaying silence broken with clapping and cheers only at song's end.
Kicking off the evening was Boise's own Red Hands Black Feet, a band with a shambling, lurching stage presence and a sound to match. Melodies meandered aimlessly until, seemingly miraculously, they met at the moment the drums produced a plosive crash. From somewhere inside this sonic experiment came a force and sensitivity that resonated with the band's fans on the dance floor.
Following Red Hands Black Feet were Dark Swallows. Heavy, repetitive guitar coupled with lyrics sung in alto gave DS a sound that bounced between masculine lows and feminine highs, sometimes settling on vocal harmonies with notes that were cast more than sung.
Stepping out onto the rainy street (which glistened in the way that makes you think of a noir film), downtown Boise flickered with the energy left over from Maserati's performance.