One aspect I appreciate about the Boise music scene is just when you start to think you have a pretty good grasp on what to expect, it throws you a curve ball. Monday night, I went to a show at the Linen Building for the first time, and from the people I spoke to in the crowd, I wasn't the only one.
The cavernous, warehouse-like interior makes for a surprisingly intimate environment and an excellent locale to hear music. The stage isn't set rather low, a balcony offers a bird's eye view and a good vibe permeates the place. This of course raises the question as to why there aren't more shows held at this seemingly clandestine venue.
A pregnant Laura Viers took the stage armed with an acoustic guitar and played a set of unpretentious folk songs, backed up by scaled down drums, keys and a violin. Throughout the set, Viers switched to electric guitar and even banjo, mixing it up. With her simple banter between songs, I couldn't help but like her, especially when she talked about catching a dip in a hot springs outside Salt Lake City and looking forward to her imminent Portland, Ore., homecoming. Squinting, I realized I recognized the lone dude in her band as Eric Anderson, a friend of a friend from Moscow, on hiatus from his one-man project Cataldo to tour with Viers. On their way home to Portland, the busy Viers will have a brief respite before crossing the pond to Europe for the next tour.
Blind Pilot may have begun as just two bicyclists escaping the Portland, Ore., winter by pulling their instruments around California and the northwest, but their skyrocketing popularity now has them backed by a full band and playing shows with the likes of the Decemberists and Josh Ritter. Not bad for a band from a city where the musical competition is fierce.
Perhaps the secret to Blind Pilot's success is Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski's knack for writing accessible, multi-layered folk pop that has a way of growing on the audience. From the packed house, Boise folks turned out in force to welcome the duo back for their second Boise gig this year in which they delivered a performance that will warrant another invitation.