You don't hear the term "virtuoso" used in reference to guitar players much these days. According to local musician Dan Costello, that's because the word has gotten a bad rap.
"You hear the word 'virtuoso' and think Spandex-wearing guys with big hair," Costello said.
He's not wrong. In the '80s, we watched guitar gods like Eddie Van Halen tear up and down a fret board and either thought, "I want to be him," or "I want to marry him." When grunge kicked hair-metal in its shiny ass with a worn Army boot, we began to look at those axe-wielding virtuosos with a snotty sneer. But guys like Michael Manring kept their eyes glued to their strings and tuning keys and continued to master their craft.
What makes Manring so extraordinary is not only the rich tones and melodies he can coax out of his instrument but that he plays a fretless electric bass. Manring takes an instrument known for sometimes doing little more than assisting drums in keeping rhythm and masterfully slaps, plucks, picks and slides to create ethereal, melodic, New Age-y music—and he has been known to play three bass guitars at a time. What is also remarkable is that you can watch Manring in concert here in Boise on Saturday, March 26, at The Rose Room.
See Manring play live and you may very well change the way you think about the word "virtuoso."
Manring will be joined by local musicians Jared Hallock, Dan Costello and semi-local Marcus Eaton. Tickets are $15 through brownpapertickets.com. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and this is an all-ages show, but a full bar is available with ID.