by Josh Gross
Oh sure, the life of a music writer seems like it's all Cristal and hot tubs, but sometimes it's Sunday night in Boise and it's frosty-nostril cold outside and going to a show instead of to bed sounds about as appealing as being punched repeatedly in the nads.
Last night, Jan. 13, happened to be one of those nights.
That's why it was nice to catch a set from Deviant Kin, a new local string band at Neurolux. Though it was mostly playing covers, the multi-part vocal harmonies and speedy-banjo picking were a pleasant change of pace from endless classic rock cover bands.
But the real thrill came from headlining band, Rose's Pawn Shop.
The Los Angeles Americana quintet took the stage with a slow, mournful melody on the fiddle followed by a slow build on the banjo. Then a quick drum fill kicked in, and it took off like a shot into a high-energy minor key country stomp drowning in four-part harmonies and fleet-fingered fiddle bowed hummingbird-quick. The band's break-(red)neck pace was reminiscent of Let's Go-era Rancid, and it didn't take long for the dance floor to fill up. And as long as the band kept that speed up, it stayed full.
In between its Stetson-melting originals, Rose's Pawn Shop blasted through countrified covers of Tom Waits, ABC and Phil Collins. When the band occasionally slowed down, the audience was treated to some excellent walking solos from standup bassist Stephen Andrews.
Lead vocalist Paul Givant said the band is hoping to make its way back to Idaho again this year. Check it out if it does, because the smooth sound of ninja fiddle player Tim Weed and sweet-as-apple-pie vocal harmonies layered on top of the kicking rhythm section make Rose's Pawn Shop the kind of band that you may later be saying "you saw back when ... "