Four, twenty-something year-old, roommates walk into a bar on a Friday night.
Not a big deal, right?
Well if those four young gentlemen are the hard-to-classify collection of Phil McGill, Graham Powers, Ben Hackett, and Alex Woolley, the evening is sure to wind up being far from common.
And that is precisely what occurred at Neurolux on March 13, 2015. To a modest crowd for a Friday night as the weather is beginning to warm, New Madrid took to the stage at one of Boise’s most reputable establishments. Surprisingly many in attendance had never experienced the band in any form; a few having just discovered them for the first time hours earlier at The Record Exchange’s In-Store performance. Needless to say, although the differing levels of knowledge about the Athens, Georgia band had amassed within the retro walls prior to their performance, the general consensus at the end was the same; it was clearly one of jaw-dropping admiration for a sound that is as hard to define as it is to miss.
Ranging in songs from their Nanobot-Acclaimed release Sunswimmer to Meat Puppet covers to a few new songs, the energy of New Madrid and the hypnotic hold they had on the crowd never ceased. Known for their ability to draw people in like the Pied Piper of Euphoric Rock, this foursome stunned song after song. Their melodic build-ups, transitioning to a wall of driving instrumental, often coming full circle to drifting melodies, all within incredibly structured, tight, well-transitioned track after track proved without a doubt that what we had experienced at Treefort 2014 was no fluke. And that this is a band that is only getting better.
Equally impressive, the stage show for New Madrid transformed the modest venue into a transcending experience. No we’re not talking pyrotechnics and lasers. But filling the stage and immediate area with fog, beat-driven pulsating lights, and an intensity that is hard to match by each member I would be surprised if anyone in attendance took their eyes off the stage for a millisecond longer than it takes to blink.
The air on the night of March 13, 2015 at Boise’s Neurolux was a religious experience in the realm of music that is incredibly hard to find. The baptism of sound and life that pours off stage from New Madrid is, in the opinion of this humble witness, unrivalled.
New Madrid is continuing on. With shows coming up at SXSW, then on to Philadelphia, New York, Toronto, St. Paul (with Diamond Rugs), Nashville, and more, there are no signs of slowing. And on top of it all, the band hopes to have their upcoming album finalized by the end of the summer. When asked if there were any hints of being tired or taking a break, guitarist Graham Powers, without missing a beat and with a dead-serious gaze, said “Not at all. We live for this!”