Sunday night around 10 p.m., you might have thought someone was testing nuclear weapons in downtown Boise. Or perhaps you thought the JUMP Project had dug into a giant underground cavern and released a herd of shrieking pterodactyls. Or maybe you just thought you were having a migraine.
But no. That was the sound of Providence, R.I.'s Lightning Bolt playing at The Shredder.
After opening sets from locals The Maladroids and Microbabies, the band set up on the floor in front of the stage so there would be room for its mountain of speakers. The image would have been funny—like something you'd expect from a KISS cover band—except that the sound which blasted forth from every single note was so enormous. It was almost like being draped in a blanket of rock. The audience wrapped around the band, many taking to the stage for an aerial view.
Bass player Brian Gibson stood strangely still, stoic even. He raised an eyebrow—Spock-like—here and there, but it was unusual imagery to go with the sound of tearing a hole in reality. And it was a direct contrast to the octopus in the throes of demonic possession routine from drummer Brian Chippendale. His custom-made Mexican wrestling mask microphone gave a nice visual to the sound of a bad acid trip.
When the band finished, a local sat down at Chippendale's drum set and gave it his best shot at the lightning-fast beats. Then he shook his head and gave up, walking to the bar to shake Chippendale's hand, then pulling him in for an admiring hug.
Even with earplugs, my ears rang the whole way home. Bonus.