When we pulled up to The Shredder, in its secluded little corner of town across from the hulking skeletal mass that is destined to become JUMP, I began to wonder slightly what I was getting myself into. I can’t say that I’d ever been to The Shredder before, and neither had my ride that night, fellow Earthling, Armada member, and head of our Tumblr page, Emily Long. The building essentially stands alone with its big, neon sign advertising whatever show is on, the only bit of burning illumination amidst a labyrinth of monochrome buildings, especially on a dull autumn night. I don’t know if it was the lackluster surroundings in this corner of town, away from the string of familiar bars I frequented much more zealously when I was younger and in college, but something made Emily and I hesitate before entering.
The inside was dimly-lit, and had a kind of hole-in-the wall feel, with dark walls and a stage set up for the performers, but there didn’t seem to be very many in attendance. The show was scheduled to begin at 7 and we didn’t show up until 8, so I got that feeling in the pit of my stomach reserved solely for awkward situations, fearing that the only people here to see Turquoise Jeep were the 8 or so sitting at the table near the stage (don’t ask me why, but I get terrible anxiety when crowd turnouts are drastically smaller than expected). I didn’t have long to dwell on it before Arthur Maddox hopped up on stage and started his set.
Art kicked things off with a slam-poetry-type piece, before moving in to his track-backed performance pieces. His show was goofy at times, but not without charm—the scruffy beard and demeanor reminded me somewhat of Aesop Rock, with an original style highlighting roots planted firmly in nerd culture with songs like “Dungeons and Dragons” and “16 bits”. With a quirky “realness” and lyrics like “my fanny pack’s always saggin’, leave me be, I’m playin’ Dungeons & Dragons”, Maddox drew positive reactions from the crowd and served to energize the venue, setting up well for the next act.
Before Eleven and DJ Noah Hyde jumped on stage, I snapped out of the attentive trance Art Maddox had me in and looked around the venue. Call it Maddox’s good mojo, call it the fact that nobody really goes out before 9 on a Saturday night, but the room was quickly filling up (with such a variety of people too—one of the things I love most about Boise shows). Eleven and Hyde launched quickly into their set, and even though I’d never seen him before, it was apparent that Eleven knew how to emcee—and I mean like real emceeing, the type of guy that can control a crowd. I had to wonder if he had taken note of KRS-ONE’s techniques, explained in Ice-T’s The Art of Rap, and had intentionally worn layers like his hat and coat simply so that he could shed his outer shell as the show went on. KRS-ONE explains that as an emcee gets deeper into his/her set, taking off layers invites the crowd to become closer to the true essence that vibes from the emcee. By the end of his set, Eleven had the whole crowd waving their hands back and forth, and nodding their heads to the beat of the music.
I was surprised that the packed bar had been nearly empty just an hour or two prior, and that as The Dedicated Servers hit the stage, the crowd was liquid with residual energy left over from the previous acts, somewhat like a lava lamp. As soon as Peanut and MCMD began their set, it was apparent that they were stepping up the game with their background visuals and high-energy performance. I had always heard about The Dedicated Servers before, but until that kick-ass November night I never had the pleasure of watching them perform live. They killed their set and had the crowd jumping, turning a room of random show-goers into one of the most live crowds I’ve ever seen. I truly have no other word for their performance but ‘amazing’, and I look forward to checking out their joint-album release party with Marshall Poole at the Neurolux on 11/26.
Turquoise Jeep rounded out the show with a ridiculously awesome set chock-full of references to sex and breakfast foods with songs like “Fried or Fertilized”, “Lemme Smang It”, and “Naughty Farmer” (I highly advise watching each one of those videos for all of their corny, green-screened glory). At one point, the group pulled 3 girls up on stage and gave them all over-the-top lap dances. Pretty Raheem’s voice sounded great. The DJ was on point. Overall, Turquoise Jeep put on one hell of a fucking show, embracing the ridiculousness that they embody and radiating fun.
As I wandered out the back door to the porch to grab a cigarette, I looked back on the night in its entirety and I remembered being apprehensive to go to the show in the first place. I’d have kicked myself in the ass, and not only because I would have missed headliners—but also because I would have missed out on such a spectacular exhibition of local talent.
I bummed a cigarette from a dude out back who told me his name was Jake. We got to talking and eventually he told me that he made music too (you can check him out on Soundcloud here)—and I had to laugh. Artists are everywhere around here. But after returning home that night and listening to his eccentric beats, I was reminded of that feeling that I got after watching Arthur Maddox, Eleven and DJ Noah Hyde, and The Dedicated Servers—I was reminded that there are gems like these hidden all over Boise, waiting to be found by those that appreciate the art, and contributing to a beautifully and creative culture that truly makes the City of Trees unique.