Things got cozy at The Crux Sept. 24, and that's exactly how Obscured by the Sun bassist Jacob Fredrickson wanted it.
"You're all going to be very near and dear to my heart in another half an hour," Fredrickson announced a couple of songs into his band's set. And he was right.
A hundred or so people crowded into The Crux on a chilly Tuesday night to see Doe Eye (aka San Francisco-based musician Maryam Qudus) and local openers Cutting Cages and Obscured by the Sun. With warm interaction between the bands and the crowd, the show was marked with a pleasant, intimate feel.
The size of the audience was impressive, considering that the concert took place on an off-night and had to compete with Phosphorescent's Radio Boise Tuesday show at Neurolux (which twice as many people attended). Given the enthusiastic reception Doe Eye received on its debut visit to Boise, Qudus and her backing band may well make good on their multiple promises to return.
Certainly, Qudus' accomplishments suggest she'll be around for a while. "I Hate You," a track from her first demo, received radio play in San Francisco. She was a finalist for Billboard's 2012 Battle of the Bands and named Unsigned Artist of the Month by Fuse TV and Alternative Press Magazine in 2011. Her Hotel Fire EP was produced by John Vanderslice, who has also worked with Spoon and The Mountain Goats.
Obscured by the Sun opened The Crux show. It took the local instrumental rock band a couple of numbers to really hit its stride, but the interplay between Travis Abbott's elegant guitar lines, Fredrickson's fluid bass work and Chris Santiago's intricate drumming proved enjoyable throughout. While each member boasted respectable chops, the trio's performance emphasized groove over self-indulgent noodling.
Cutting Cages played next. This young band's relatively new five-person lineup sounded a little scattered when it opened for Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas in July. Happily, the terse riffs and busy drumming felt more congealed here, which augmented the winsomeness of the melodies and gave some relief to the pained vocals and angst-ridden lyrics. Friends of the band moved close to the stage and cheered wildly.
Doe Eye's set suffered a few technical difficulties (weird sounds from an amp, a slight delay in the running of some prerecorded tracks), but they didn't detract from the wistful tunes, glittery guitar, dreamy keyboard and nimble drumming. Qudus' low, cool vocals and introspective lyrics contrasted with her friendly, down-to-earth stage presence. The crowd danced and cheered so enthusiastically that Doe Eye played an Arcade Fire cover for an impromptu encore.
"This song's about how we feel about Idaho," Doe Eye bassist Nic de la Riva said before the band played "I Hate You." That wasn't an insult; the song's chorus features the lyric, "Oh darling, it hurts to love you."