This triple bill at SOhO teamed up two Central Coast artists, opener Wryn and closer The Phone Booth, with Los Angeles slow-core forerunners Idaho for a night of intensely imagined songs and moody, darkly melodic music. Whatever comes next in the culture, one gets the feeling that these musicians will all remain true to their individual visions.
Wryn’s opening solo set showed a performer in the midst of a creative surge. Song after song poured out, evidence that recent studio time has been abundantly fertile. Summoning thoughts of Dry-era PJ Harvey, the sound was tough yet heartfelt, and loaded with potential. It will be interesting to see how these recent compositions evolve into more complete arrangements. In the meantime, Wryn demonstrated ample ability to hold the stage with just guitar and voice.
Idaho these days involves founding member and songwriter Jeff Martin along with three excellent, highly simpatico musicians — Luke Burba on bass and backing vocals, Robby Fronzo on four-string guitar and backing vocals, and John Darren Thomas on drums. A typical Idaho song churns from sultry and mysterious to heavy and fierce in a series of waves. Then, in a blink, it’s over. Jeff Martin’s voice has never been stronger, and it’s clear that the four-string guitar fetish is a lot more than a gimmick. Fans of the band should check out the trailer for Traces of Glory: The Musical Journey of Idaho. I’ve seen a rough cut, and the combination of the band’s music with Martin’s archival film and video is evocative in a major way.
The Phone Booth’s driving indie sound made a perfect ending to this long night of great music. The band members are from Santa Barbara, with personnel including Michael Easbey on vocals and guitar, Josh Blumenthal on bass, Tony Pennington on guitar, and Ben Pecorari on drums. Catch them on Bandcamp — their 2019 album, Roman, is pure Santa Barbara–bred brilliance.