Credit: Laurent Guillaume

California has spawned its share of pop music sensations, from the Beach Boys to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but few can match Idaho for subtle, sweet-and-dour, long-haul sustainability. Begun in the 1980s as the duo of Jeff Martin and John Berry, Idaho carried on through the 1990s into this century with Martin at the helm of a rotating cast of musicians ranging from Dan Seta and Terry Borden to Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur on backing vocals. Today, four decades in, Idaho remains one of the last great semi-undiscovered purveyors of moody native-Californian indie rock. (Although it’s likely that the forthcoming documentary, Traces of Glory: The Musical Journey of IDAHO, will have some impact on that.)

While Martin’s preference for four-string guitars and unorthodox tunings may put him in an outsider-adjacent place on the music map, his smooth baritone and impeccably understated sense of style render him a compelling and durable performer. Since this is the first tour for Idaho in more than a decade and one of the only opportunities to see the band in Southern California, the Idaho faithful will presumably turn out. Still, fans of groups like American Music Club and Crazy Horse would do well to give them a listen, especially live, where Martin’s fervent underlying emotionality tends to burn hot.

Wryn and The Phone Booth are the opening acts at SOhO on Wednesday, November 3. Doors are at 7 p.m., and the show is at 8. For tickets, information, and dinner reservations, go to

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