Saturday, March 23, 2013

Treefort Friday Re-Cap: Pickwicks, Kithkins and Hillstompers

Posted By on Sat, Mar 23, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Hillstomps Henry Hill, left, and John Johnson, right, warbled bluegrass tunes into tape-covered microphones March 22.
  • Andrew Crisp
  • Hillstomp's Henry Hill Kammerer, left, and John Johnson, right, warbled bluegrass tunes into tape-covered microphones March 22.

Frigid temperatures marked the second day of Treefort Music Fest. Shows at the newly opened Main Stage on Grove Street were a frosty experience, but Seattle's Pickwick was more than willing to send a wave of heat out across the crowd.

Lead singer Galen Disston's neo-soul vocals paired with bouncy guitar riffs and tinkling keys evoked a sound like a much warmer summer day. After the set, Disston told Boise Weekly he planned to turn in early before the band heads home.

"I think probably what I'll do is go to the Red Lion, get maybe a latte, take a shower, maybe get to bed by 10 p.m. What do you think? You want to join me?" said Disston.

Instead of jumping in the Pickwick hot tub, I rolled over to Neurolux for another Seattle band, the experimental quartet Kithkin. On stage, the group hammered at dueling drum sets and uttered wild chants. If you missed them, do yourself a favor and catch SSG Music's showcase kicking off 2 p.m. today at Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St.

But it wasn't until later at Reef that I witnessed the hottest set of the night, from Portland, Ore. bluegrass duo Hillstomp. On paper, Henry Hill Kammerer's slide guitar and banjo offset by John Johnson's "junk contraption" drum set might seem small on sound.

It was just the opposite. A large crowd hugged the stage and stomped right along with the Hillstompers, as Johnson's bucket drum and brake disk hammering perfectly punctuated Kammerer's strings. Both uttered vocals into duct tape-covered microphones, a distortion technique that produced an old radio sound.

During a break between songs, Johnson told Boise the band would come back any time.

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