Crazy Horse Returns Triumphant in Downtown Boise

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Julia LiBassi, of The Raven and the Writing Desk, lets slide with her "strong, sultry wail" at the opening night of the new Crazy Horse. - BEN SCHULTZ
  • Ben Schultz
  • Julia LiBassi, of The Raven and the Writing Desk, lets slide with her "strong, sultry wail" at the opening night of the new Crazy Horse.

A couple of songs into The Raven and the Writing Desk’s set on Friday, Sept. 12, drummer Scott Roush stopped for a moment and looked at the audience.

“I’m going to take a picture of you guys from back here behind the drums,” he said. “Will you guys look like you’re partying really hard?”

That didn’t take much effort. An over-capacity crowd turned out to celebrate the new Crazy Horse’s grand opening. Bar staff scrambled to pour drinks and bus empty glasses as people chatted, smoked out on the patio and listened to live music from a bill ranging from young Twin Falls transplant Meth House Party Band to iconic local stoner rock trio Caustic Resin.

The variety of acts that performed suited Crazy Horse co-owner Wes Malvini’s expressed desire to pay “homage and respect for the history of Boise’s music.”

While each band delivered an enjoyable performance, the two clear highlights were the sets by Caustic Resin and Denver, Colo.-based cabaret-metal quartet The Raven and the Writing Desk.

Brett Netson didn’t seem to have as much trouble keeping his guitar in tune as he did during Caustic Resin’s set at Treefort 2014’s History of Boise Rock Showcase. This left much less space between the barrages of ear-scathing distortion. The oozing bass lines and propulsive, yet subtle drumming were just as impressive.

The Raven and the Writing Desk’s combination of snarling metal guitar and somber, cabaret-tinged tunes may seem unlikely, but it worked as well here as it did at the band’s Treefort 2014 set. The steady, supple rhythms, which quickly got the crowd dancing, undoubtedly helped. So did lead singer Julia LiBassi’s strong, sultry wail.

The night’s music had a couple of hitches: The speakers cut out during Caustic Resin and Storie Grubb and the Holy Wars’ sets. The problem was quickly fixed each time, though, giving the crowd ample opportunity to note the clarity and power of the sound system.

“Better days are ahead of us,” sang Storie Grubb during his band’s set. As far as the Crazy Horse goes, it’s hard to imagine a better one than this. Time will tell.