Concert Review

Concert Review: Golden Boots at Rhythm Room

In my nearly five years here in Arizona, I have probably seen Tucson's Golden Boots about 10-15 times. I've had the pleasure and fortune of playing with and booking shows for them; getting to know them a little bit in the process. However, at the Rhythm Room last night, Golden Boots took it up a notch giving what I think is the best performance I have seen them give Phoenix in a long time. This is by no means implying that their previous performances have been sub par, either. The thing that you need to know about the Boots is that they are somewhat of a rock chameleon; constantly shifting from one shade of the spectrum to the next while still retaining the same body. Despite the frequent change in personnel, Golden Boots have gone from just another Tucson local band to a national touring artist who has infected various musical scenes with their honest, light-hearted, and just good old fashioned rock and roll.

Setting up the scene: It's a near sold-out house at the Rhythm Room and there are hipster kids galore waiting to experience amazing and (rightfully) hyped Dirty Projectors (shameless plug: you can read both a feature and interview here and here). There are the regular concertgoers that I see every now and then; people who wouldn't miss a show like this. Then there were the folks who seldom come to shows and only come out when something seems like it's really big.

Enter: Golden Boots. In all their modesty (quirky lab coats, hats, and smiles), the quartet took the stage and immediately jumped into the song "Run Hide," a rockin' track bursting with their trademark country influence. Their vitality shone through providing the perfect landscape for their dead-on three part harmonies and group vocals. The dynamic duo of Dimitri Manos and Ryen Eggleston (the ring-leaders of the band) are a stellar contrast from each other. Taking turns manning lead vocals, both have a distinctly familiar yet highly original sound. Standout tracks such as "West Nile Isle" and "Everything" are good examples of this. But while they remain approachable, the chameleon still deceives you. While they have been seen as one of the best backing bands that K Records' Jason Anderson could ever have, the Boots have an eccentricity to them as well. They have played alongside artists such as freak-folkster Whitman and have contributed to out-of-this-world compilations such as "Taco Bell Fella," a tribute album to the California-based noise band Quem Quaeritis, amongst other endeavors including a three-way split with Phoenix wonder boys Andrew Jackson Jihad and Portland's Flaspar.

While there were a couple dozen people who were already familiar with the Boots, it was apparent that this crowd was somewhat of a hard surface to scratch. It's hard to play music that sounds a lot like country to a group of hipsters who probably just wanted to keep their arms crossed and their gaze still for the next act. However, the Boots have an undeniable charm to them. They are real, their songs evoking the most simple of human emotions, and they are relatable in almost every which way. As part of their elusive persona, Golden Boots can go from their apparent honky tonk country roots and enter into a slow, dreamy rock and roll mess complete with catchy hooks and chant-able choruses all within one song and that's what makes them oh-so-delightful to see live.

Critic's Notebook: 
Last night: Dirty Projectors and Golden Boots at Rhythm Room. 

Better than: Spending a cold autumn night alone. 

Random Detail: Dimitri and Ryen are originally from Philadelphia. 

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Frances Michelle Lopez