Cornmeal decided to make yet another pilgrimage to the great state of Colorado before 2011 wound its way down the drain of life. They were doing a two night run hitting The Aggie and The Fox before gearing up for their December run on the east coast. I got a chance to sit down with Wavy Dave and Chris Gangi from Cornmeal before the show. It was a great conversation about everything from their new release of Live In Chicago Volume 2 and their upcoming studio album to Summer Camp and New Year’s runs. It was an enlightening talk and we will be featuring some our conversation in video form as well as on our MusicMarauders Live podcast next month.
Magic Beans, who currently call Boulder their home, are an eclectic mix of all things jam. I listened to some of their tracks online before the show and I was struck by their prowess with acoustic songs. At the Aggie, it was immediately apparent that they were young. They had solid musicianship, but other than their Rocky Top opener, they seemed to stray away from the sound that had drawn me to them in the first place. I will say that their second song, Band Camp, was like a washing machine full of jam on the spin cycle. It was a fifteen-minute opus that showed the wide variety of their skills. They ended their set with some Bisco sounding playing that, given the fact that they were opening for Cornmeal, seemed a bit out of place. Given the fact of their age, I was impressed with their musicianship and I look forward to seeing them evolve as a group. With a little more focus, they could powerful force on the jam circuit.
Cornmeal took the Aggie stage around 10:45 PM and jumped into a high-energy hoedown that was like watching a bluegrass volcano erupt before my eyes. Cornmeal always brings the heat in Colorado. Something about the altitude or the water out here just inspires them musically. They have become so well known out here as a band that always delivers live that they usually draw quite the crowd. A decent audience was in attendance for a Thursday night show in Fort Collins. They opted for one long set playing almost two and a half hours rather than breaking it up. Allie shredded the violin like a female bluegrass version of Hendrix. Wavy Davy showed some of his skills on the banjo and he nailed some back and fort between himself and Kris. Highlights from the show included a very nice Out Here On My Own and a Magic Stone Mountain that would get even the most jaded fan dancing in the aisle. As they were about to wrap up the set they surprised the crowd with a beautiful version of John Lennon’s Watching The Wheels.
They encored with a huge This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) by the Talking Heads and Townes Van Zandt’s White Freight Liner Blues. It was a great close to an amazing show from Cornmeal. They bring so much to their live shows by creating a palpable energy in any room they play, and upping the ante for any other jamgrass band touring today. They are a fearless group that, through their twelve plus years of playing together, have become so comfortable in that they are willing to take chances and push it to the limit. Their show at the Aggie was no exception and I will continue to look forward to their regular visits to Colorado.
A Day In Of The Life
Well, a weekend actually. My Umphrey’s Red Rocks and Blue experience actually began on Friday July 1st when I picked up some of my Chicago peeps from the Denver Airport. It was great to have the Midwest peeps back with me again and the buzz of excitement that could be only an Umphrey’s show was already building. We went out Friday night and Saturday night and caught my good friends, the Fox Street Allstars as they brought their band of rock and funk to my favorite Denver bar, Herb’s Jazz and Blues. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Fox Street Allstars, please do so. They are good friends and tour around with the New Mastersounds. We all know those cats can throw down and let’s just say Fox Street holds their own.
Anyway, Sunday came and it was time for Red Rocks. By now the crew had increased to about a dozen. We had a van pick us up for the show, SAFETY FIRST, and headed out. We got to the lot just before doors, hopped in line and went into the venue. It was a slow to grow crowd and we were able to put some tarps down in the sweet spot, rows 24 and 25, just left of center. We got in touch with another crew of peeps and had our group of 30 or so rollin all together.
Up first were the New Mastersounds. They looked so funny packed in all tight on top of one another. Appearances, and Eddie Roberts’ new hair cut aside, those euro boys really held it down. I love seeing them play and I’m so happy they have become friends with the UM guys and that gives me more chances to see them. Up next was the Easy Star Allstars performing some of their originals as well as some of their dub covers. A really fun show, something must have gone wrong though with the timing because they were just about to start their bong rip influenced “money” from dub side of the moon when they got cut off. Regardless they hold it down and always put on an amazing show. Nevertheless it was time for UMPHREY’S.
I know I have mentioned before how Umphrey’s are my favorite, and this show at Red Rocks really reinforced that for me. First set began as the sun was really setting. Jefferson Waful would pretty much dominate everything that happened the whole night. When he gets to set up a rig like the one he had this night, with some 60 odd moving lights, well, he can really create some textures that are of unsurpassable beauty and I applaud him for his efforts. The music though, boy the music. This was a really special show for me for a lot of reasons. I was with some of my best friends in the world both from Denver and Chicago and I was actually privileged to be able to introduce 2 other friends of mine to UM…what a first show to see.
I’m not sure about everyone else but I am really stoked on the way these new tunes are coming together. We got Puppet String in the first set which is just an awesome song full of metaphors vocal harmonies and soaring guitar riffs. Dropping into a dirty Hurt Bird Bath was probably a really good idea, and the plunger ending was a great way to send us off to set break. 2nd set was amazing as well. Divisions and Haji were my personal highlights as those songs have the tendency to tug on my heart strings. Ok, I’ll say it, I was crying during both tunes…I can’t help it…between the scenery, my environment (inside my body), my people, the lights, the songs, it was all too much. Not tears of sadness , but almost of connection and shared experience. Leaving his lyrics open to interpretation, Brendan really allows people to connect with his music, simply amazing. Finally, the encore, Pearl Jam’s Release, with huge vocals, Brendan’s voice seemed to flow over the entire crowd and wrap them in a blanket of emotion connected to the song. This song is especially meaningful to one of my best friends, Ben Burstein, and for me to see him see this song was very special as it helps me understand what his world is about a little more.
With the show over we headed back to the van. Between our 14 and another limo of 18, we were about to continue the party at my place where an ice cold keg of PBR was waiting for us. Upon arrival, my roomie Kari was getting things ready and we were about to rage. The Fox Street boys, my roommate Jordan and his band Kinetix, and s couple other special guests who later got locked in our backyard for half an hour, were all getting down together. The tunes and the beers were flowing and we were all so happy to be home safe with each other just living the life. I think we all got to settling down around sunrise. Epic, epic night.
Waking up on the 4th we all could barely do anything considering the night before. But, in the true spirit of an Umphreak, we rallied and raged. We got up to Boulder about an hour before the show, grabbed a bite to eat on the Pearl Street mall and headed into the Boulder Theater. Crew and I headed straight up to the balcony and to our surprise, all the seats had been removed. I later found out they went out for cleaning, but it was great up there. Super roomy, awesome sound, unadulterated view. From everything I hear people talking about, they loved the Boulder Show more than the Red Rocks show and if you are into a dancey night of Umphrey’s I’d have to agree. With such a small room and everyone being such a big fan, there was a lot of energy flying around in the boulder theater. Between Booth Love, the Triple Wide, Wappy, and In the Kitchen, the dance force was out in full effect. For me, however, getting to see Murph come out and play Comfortably Numb was the highlight. Every single person singing along, it was phenomenal. Check out this video by my buddy Ben: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUkG5a2hXTM
With all that we had experienced I continue to realize how lucky we are to get to see a band like Umphrey’s. And just as every note they play can ring for only so long, seeing a live band is a fleeting endeavor. We never know how long they will play or what the future holds. So whatever your band is, go see them. Go see them as much as you can because tomorrow, you might not be able to.
CIT Taraleigh Weathers Gives a Recap of STS9 in Burlington, Vermont.
This one goes out to all those kids who wanted some more electronic coverage from Summer Camp. Obviously it’s not my genre of choice, but some of the bands can still hit close to the mark for me. I had listened to several tracks off of Boombox’s lastest album and was actually pretty excited to see them play. I arrived early to hear Auditory Elements who didn’t really even deserve to share the stage with Boombox. I first caught JD Garrick at The Mish this summer and just feel like he comes up short mixing mashups and dubstep. Not to mention that the early crowd didn’t bode well for the rest of the evening either. I watched a girl with a giant X on her hand stumbling around before a bartender had to come over and kick her out for being too intoxicated. When Boombox finally took the stage around 11 PM the crowd was packed in as many were still filtering in through the door. The sweat-soaked youngsters worked themselves up into fervor as the show began.
Boombox consists of Russ Randolph and Zion Rock Godchaux, yes that Godchaux. The most approachable thing about their sound is the organic fusion of instrumental and electronic. If you read my posts you know I have issue with heading out to see electronic acts mainly because it doesn’t jive with my personal taste. However, Boombox got their hooks into me a long time ago with dance version of Bob Dylan’s classic poem Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie and as I previously mentioned the Grateful Dead connection with Zion Rock being the son of none-other-than Donna Jean. It’s nice to see an electronic act that still has respect for the classics that made music what it is today. Their newest album Downriver Electric is an enjoyable combination of soulful singing and dance-oriented beats. However it would take most of their show until we were treated to a couple of tracks from the new album. In fact the majority of the show featured the duo focusing on slick riffs with heavy beats and staying away from their more song-orientated material. Songs like Boogeyman and Round and Round made it into rotation, which was a nice workup of some, their classic tunes.
Boombox is a liquid dance party that focuses on a more down tempo and grooving structure to their shows. Elements of funk and rock mix cleanly with the electronic fundamentals to create a bouncy and layered show. For organic music fans it can be hit or miss but their show at The Aggie delivered exactly what was advertised. I could have done with a little more vocal based songs but overall I was impressed with the party they throw. My highlight from the show was the eloquently preformed Headchange. It’s songs like this that make me intrigued with Boombox. Clearly they have talent and know how to get the kids hungry for the untz, but by adding a bit of subtlety and some solid lyrics they create an avenue into electronic for me personally. So in conclusion I’m glad I made it down and was happy with the performance. I could have done with a couple more tracks like Headchange but hey; it’s a dance party.
Burlington, VT has been on fire since the students have returned back to all of the colleges in the area. There are a ton of amazing bands at the venues all over town each night that our biggest decision in life is what band to rock out to. Life is very hard in Burlington:) On October 12th kids ventured to Higher Ground to check out some fantabulous dubstep. EOTO had each and every one of their fans dressed in anything from acid washed jeans to shiny jumpsuits with animal ear hats hypnotized with every whomp whomp they produced. Michael Travis and Jason Hann are one hundred percent committed to giving the show of their lives every time they hit the stage, which we as fans really appreciate. Every performance I’ve seen of EOTO so far, they have gone balls to the wall. Actually I would say the balls crushed the wall. You can’t help but dance, scream, shimmy, gyrate and maybe even pee yourself because you are so excited by the music. I love EOTO so much I wrote a Haiku about it.
Jason and Michael
They bring the whomp whomp whomp whoooooomp
EOTO melts minds
I also write one of the poems where you come up with a word for each letter
E- Everyone feeds off the energy of the band
O- Out of this world raging
T- Too much for my grandma to handle
O- Oooooohhh! I’m so excited to see them at Summer Camp next year:)
By Taraleigh Weathers
You know living where I live is pretty sweet. I only need to travel a few hours to get to all the best shows in towns like Milwaukee, Twin Cities, Chicago and of course Madison. A short 2 hour drive to Madison led me to The Majestic to see Colorado natives Michael Travis and Jason Hann of EOTO. We get the venue to find out we had scored some meet and greet tickets for only $20. With that I had the awesome pleasure of striking up a conversation with Jason Hann who plays drums and vocals and let me tell you he is one of the coolest most chill guys I have ever met in my life. He is funny and charismatic so I’m sure he has no problem picking up the ladies hahaha. Any who, we chatted of course about the fabulous Summer Camp Music festival. I asked him what his favorite Summer Camp memory was and he didn’t hesitate when telling me his story. He said his all time favorite memory is getting stuck in New York due to weather. I know that doesn’t sound fun but what comes next would be a topper for me. He told me about being stuck and wanting nothing but to make it to Scamp so he had to do the unthinkable, hitch hike!!!! Just kidding they did do an outrageous stunt though. They had to rent a plane but not any plane, a private jet. YEAH BUDDY do they know how to rock it in style. He said the plane made it to Ill with just enough time to set up stage and start playing an amazing set. We joked about the cost of the jet and how is was mear pocket change. We all have $10,000 just lying around hahaha. But he also stated that he could never forget stepping outside after the show and finding ankle deep mud, who else can forget that. I got to snag a signed poster from them and make my merry way to the balcony to enjoy an awesome with my dear friend PABST BLUE RIBBON BEER. Nothing could go wrong.
Now let us review the SICK show they put on. I couldn’t believe my ears when they played one of my all-time favorite Tupac songs Baby Don’t Cry. I was pumped beyond belief because that was the last song I expected them to mix by the man himself Tupac Shakur. They mixed a bunch random songs like the ever popular Nysnc, took me back to when I was just a weee little girlie and kind of made me giggle. But let me tell you EOTO definitely knows how to throw down and get the crowd pumped. You can tell they are very fan oriented (like most bands) by their smiles and the connection they make with the crowd. I don’t think anyone walked out of that show dissatisfied. After a killer 2 set show all I wanted to do was rage some more. Sadly I had responsibilities in the morning and had to leave the Madison community to make my venture home. I was bummed the next few days when all the Wausau folk that attended the show talked about chillin with Michael and Jason at an after party at my buddy Waubs house. I was sad but glad at the same time. It only made me want to support the band even more knowing that they don’t let their fame get in the way of hanging out with the fans and just being regular dudes, mad props to EOTO.
All I have to say to you people is check out EOTO if you never have because no one I know has ever been disappointed.
Counselor in Training
For all you Umphrey’s McGee fans I bet you were just as stoked to hear about a new UM cd as I was. Well it finally came in September and I could not wait to listen and guess what….I didn’t wait. New songs to end a great summer is the bees knees and I was on that CD like white on rice. I could not wait and was ready for some good lyrics, awesome bass and amazing piano. When it came I was ready.
The thing that sucks about being a huge fan of any band is when a new album comes out you expect nothing but greatness and a breath of fresh air. Now to be totally honest with you at first I wasn’t too keen on the album name Death by Stereo. It seemed a little punk rock to me, not saying it is a bad name just saying I didn’t quite know how I felt about it. I can’t wait for an opportunity to chat with one of the guys to get their input on it but I am sure it comes from somewhere and something (obviously hahah) I just want to know what. But enough about the name lets get to talking about the music.
I know this is the 3rd time I expressed this but I was expecting a lot out of this album. I wanted to see UM spread their wings and fly to far off places with this one. Now I am not at all going to bash this album in any way shape or form but what I took from the album was not what I was expecting. The first two songs I am not going to lie through me off a bit. After listening to the lyric of ‘Miami Virtue’ I had a lot of respect for the song. It reminds me of my teenage years, listen to the song and you will understand. The guitar in ‘Domino Theory’ also through me off, to me it didn’t sound like tradition UM but it’s a new album and no one wants to always sound the same I know that but I will have to say that is the song I think I listen to the least amount. Just stating my opinion. I know people who do like that song because it is a new sound, but call me old fashion it’s not my favorite. What I liked was that they took a UM classic from waayyyyy back in the day and put it on the album to make it official, number 10 ‘Hajimemashite’ or other known as ‘Haji’. Great song that I just can’t get enough of. They also put another known UM song on Death by Stereo that we know and love as Booth Love. ‘Deeper’ has, to me, the same funky sound as Booth Love and I think that is why I like it so much. I can really appreciate ‘Deeper’. ‘The Floor’ has that good ole UM sound I know I enjoy, you know where they start out nice and chill and have that slow and steady build up until finally it reaches that point of ridiculousness where you can’t help but scream because the built up worked that well hahaha, oh yeah. ‘Dim Sun’ is a very nice relaxing acoustic song with the faint sounds of birds chirping in the background that you can sit back, close your eyes and enjoy the moment for that moment. The title explains the song to a T. ‘Conduit’ is another not so new song they threw on this album. It’s one of those songs where you can remember when you heard it live and feel how you felt at that moment. Those are always priceless. Now I’m not going to tell you about every song, if you want to know more then you’re just going to have to go and buy it for yourself.
All in all my opinion of Death by Stereo is that I liked it. Fans are a bands hardest critic and I would be lying if I say I don’t enjoy listening to it. I would have enjoyed to hear more newer songs and maybe even the songs they said would be on the album from Summer Camp 2011 but hey, maybe they will come out with another album soon. We will have to see.
Counselor in Training
So one band that I didn’t get to catch this year at Summer Camp was Peoria natives and 7 time festival alumni Brainchild. I heard they were making their way to Fort Collins as part of a three-night Colorado run. So on a crispy Saturday night in the Fort I headed down with Amy and on old friend to Road 34. As we entered more than one person in the Lot out back commented on the fact that I was the Summer Camp Counselor. Road 34 is a bar / bike shop and a great place to see live music in an intimate setting. The opening band was the local group, Twine! They have been working their way around the scene and playing some strong performances on the Front Range. They are certainly young but I was fairly impressed with how far they’ve come in just a couple short years. Sure they are loose and they missed a few cues but to be honest they have a ton of potential. Mainly playing instrumental tunes they broke into some solid jamming heavily anchored by their rhythm section of Michael Vargas and Sam Mitchell. Ben White took on a silly front man role with the irreverent Skate Legs. However, they actually reached a serious high with Paradox, which included a nice Zeppelin nod. I see them making waves as long as they can hold it together for a few more years.
For more info and some streaming music check out their Reverb Nation page at,
The main event of Brainchild took the stage and they blasted through their almost two-hour set with an alarmingly powerful musical prowess. I had heard good things about them but little could prepare me for the talent they brought to what was essentially a bar stage. They literally audibly assaulted the crowd of thirty or so with strong jamming and interesting lyric. Everyone that had come to Road 34 that night could not help but be impressed for the amount of musicianship they received for the five-dollar cover. They played classic Brainchild songs like Follow The Mornin’ Sun which lasted almost 17 Minutes and saw a wide variety of sonic transitions in the form of epic jamming. They also busted out an instrumental version of Billie Jean into Smooth Criminal, which was certainly a crowd pleaser. I don’t get out to the bar shows that often as my music schedule is jam packed but this was one night I was very happy that I made it. Elements of funk, jazz, and jam all made their way into this eclectic show. Probably the most interesting pieces of the puzzle were the vocal inter-layering between Ponce and Mooberry. The crowd began as a sort of loose affiliation of kids out enjoying a drink and broke into an all out dance party. They encored with a stunning version of Rage Against The Machine’s Killing in the Name Of. There were maybe 20 people left at this point and the front of the stage became a borderline mosh pit. Most bands try to leave the audience mellow, as they finish, not Brainchild. They tore it and worked the attendees into a frenzy before bidding them goodnight. I grabbed a quick photo with Roy and he kicked me down a couple of CDs so that I could dive a little deeper into their repertoire before Summer Camp next year. I can honestly say that if they are on the bill next year, and I hope they are, I will not be missing them. Thanks for an awesome night of music Brainchild; you killed it.
Summer Camp Counselor
Keller and The Keels at The Mishawaka
So my good friends Sean and Cristi raced to get into town early for Phish so they could meet us before heading up to The Mishawaka. It was time for some old fashioned K-Dub goodness up the canyon. The second of his two-night stand featured not only Keller’s looped set but also The Keels to open. The four of us hopped the shuttle and took the drive up arriving at the venue just before 8 PM. It was relatively empty so I got ready to take some photos while the rest of my gang got food and drinks for the festivities. The Mishawaka is a gem in the Poudre Canyon, it is located right on the river and it has an ambiance that is hard to match by any standards. Needless to say but I love seeing live music here.
Keller came on stage a little after 8:30 PM with Jenny and Larry Keel in tow. It was time for a bluegrass extravaganza at The Mish. I tried to keep track of the setlist but this is most definitely incomplete so if anyone has it shoot it over. They opened with a bouncy version of Rehab; here is the rest of what I was able to get from the show.
SET I: Rehab, Pepper, Don’t Cuss The Fiddle, Another Brick In The Wall, Play This, Local Outdoor Organic, New Horizons, Mountain Song, Connie Chung, Loser, Climb, Uncle Disney> Goofballs>?
SET II: The Shape of M&M’s, California, Birds of a Feather, Convertible, Moon Dance, Kidney in a Cooler, Vacate The Premises, Gate Crashers, Scarlet, Freeker, Star Trek, Dupree’s Diamond Blues, Port-a-Potty, Mary Jane’s Last Breakdown
ENCORE: Boob Job
The Keels set was everything you’d expect with most of the Grass album seeing rotation. J-man and I took our photos for the first three songs and ventured away from the front of the stage. We had all access but respected the wishes of the band and also did not want to get in people’s way. The crowd was fairly full but not so packed that you couldn’t move around. It was the perfect size in my opinion. The Play This was strong and the back and forth guitar work between Keller and Larry was mesmerizing. They play so well together it becomes a beautiful musical tapestry with Jenny holding down the edges. Keller is a guitar virtuoso but he is also a strong bandleader. I love seeing him in the different roles, which has been much more frequent in the last couple years. The Connie Chung was truly energetic and throughout the set I wandered around seeing old friends and watching people dance. Everyone just seems to really enjoy themselves at Keller shows. To me Keller equals fun and it was apparent that those in attendance felt the same way. I took a moment to stop by the Conscious Alliance tent in the back and thank them for all their hard work. For those that don’t know Conscious Alliance runs food drives at concerts and in exchange for donations they give out show posters. They do amazing work and are truly a Colorado tradition.
The second set was Keller doing his looped performance and he opened with his instrumental M&M’s, which was a lot like eating some musical candy. He busted into California, which easily became, “I love Colorado,” during the course of the song. The crowd was going nuts after the first song as they tried to jump into the pit but the fans were quickly ushered back onto the floor by security. This is the sort of infectious energy that is so prevalent at his live shows. There is truly a buzz in the air and everyone is drinking the Kool-Aid. The Birds of a Feather gave me chills, while so many other jam bands will step back from covering songs by Phish or The Grateful Dead, Keller is not afraid. I’ve always seen his solo performances as a live musical flow of consciousness, and he isn’t shy about playing songs by bands that have been an influence to him. His version was crisp, clean, and out of control. I loved it. He invited The Motet’s Pete Wall out for his classic take on Van Morrison’s Moondance and I hoped up to grab some video of this live collaboration. That’s one more thing I love about Keller he is so willing to play with anyone. He sees value in the skills of other players and he is always ready to jam. The Moondance stretched on well over the fifteen-minute mark with Pete was blasting away on his flute like Ian Anderson on speed. Just when I thought it was over Pete walked off stage and grabbed his baritone sax to jam on Kidney in a Cooler. This has always been one of my favorite Keller tunes and to hear Wall nailing the bottom end gave me a whole new reason to love it. The Gate Crashers broke down into an R-Rated sing-along, which brought a smile to K-Dub’s face. He invited the Keels back onstage to close out the rest of his set, and continued to play crowd-pleasers until the very end. Dupree’s saw some sick flat-picking from Larry and Port-a-Potty was completely appropriate given the bathroom situation at The Mish. The Mary Jane’s Last Breakdown is like a bluegrass mashup of two Petty covers and it just works. I was totally stoked with the entire performance. Keller encored with his crass but true Boob Job.
Keller Williams and The Mishawaka are a winning combination. Whenever he makes the trip up the Poudre, which as of late has been a yearly tradition, he just slays the Colorado crowd. I’m glad that Keller continues to tour frequently because I know that at least a couple times a year I’ll be able to just go to a show and enjoy myself. When I was first coming up in the scene Keller was a festival whore, and I say that in the nicest way possible. The ultimate result is that I’ve seen him live over thirty times and every time I leave with a huge smile on my face. Last Saturday night at The Mishawaka was no exception.
Once again Summer Camp came through with yet another photo pass to Red Rocks. This time for the bluegrass extravaganza headlined by Scamp veterans Yonder Mountain String Band. They did an amazing job putting together a stellar supporting lineup with Railroad Earth and The Infamous Stringdusters filling out the bill. I have been waiting for this show for months and was totally stoked when I went to grab my pass at the booth. There was a rumor floating around online that Red Rocks would be releasing an additional 500 tickets. With the show selling out just the day prior there were literally hundreds of kids out roaming the lot with their respective fingers in the air. So by the time I got back down to will call around 5 PM there was a huge line of eager fans, but as I got to the window a representative came out stood on a boulder and let everyone know that the show was officially sold out. I found out from her that they only released 50 tickets rather than the bruited 500.
I quickly headed back up the hill because the doors were already open and I didn’t want to miss my chance to shoot The Infamous Stringdusters who were up first. J-Man and I made our way down to the pit and I was immediately struck by how many dear friends I was surrounded by. I noticed local videographer and documentarian Eric Abramson on stage with his trusty camera. He is my personal hero and everything I aspire to be, look out for his upcoming doc on Scramble Campbell entitled ScrambleVision. I looked up into the quickly forming crowd to see Roach, Wildo with the Team Shit Show Crew, and a ton of pink vests in honor of far too young fallen Yonder fan Lilli Trippe who recently lost her battle with a rare form of childhood leukemia. Her story is truly heartbreaking but the show of support from not only YMSB but also their fanbase is very inspiring. RIP Lilli. You can read more about her story and also make a tribute to Lilli at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/lilli.
So as the Stringusters made their way a call of “Let the fun and games begin,” was belted through the PA. They opened with a searing version of Fork In The Road; here is the rest of the setlist from Archive.
SET I: Fork In The Road, Black Rock, Get It While You Can, Ain’t No Way Of Knowing, Hitchhiker, Walking On The Moon, It Don’t Mean Nothing, How Far I’d Fall For You, In God’s Country, Can’t Put Out The Fire, Steam Powered Aereo Plane, Rain
You can download the audience recording on ARCHIVE. (Hyperlink – http://www.archive.org/details/isd2011-08-20) Thanks to Gerry Gladu for posting and posting quickly I might add. (Hyperlink – http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22gerry+gladu%22)
When you are in the pit at Red Rocks it is very much a dance with the other photogs. You grab you shot and move on and try not to get in each other’s way. It was a lot of fun working with J-man and some of the other unbelievable local shooters Tobin Voggesser and Rob Tobin (no relation.) The Infamous Stringdusters seem to give a sense of real authenticity in their picking. They were steeped in the old-timey goodness that defines what real bluegrass is all about. They floated around each other in a fluid dance as each took their turn for solos while really listening to what the others were playing. They maintained a certain reverence for this genre’s true aspirations. The early arrivers were treated to a cavalcade of pure bluegrass. Songs like their version of the Police’s Walking On The Moon, In God’s Country, John Hartford’s Steam Powered Aereo Plane, and the show closing Rain were amazing to watch. I was very happy with their set and will definitely be on the lookout for their next journey to Colorado.
Railroad Earth is quickly becoming one of the most dynamic bluegrass acts on the circuit today. They are simply mesmerizing and they have the ability to basically stun their audience. They were certainly in contention for MVPs of the night and I would go so far as to say that they stole the show. YMSB has been playing this yearly pilgrimage to Red Rocks for quite some time now, but the supporting lineup this time around went a long way in helping them sell out their home venue. While J-man and I were in the Lot I asked him to hit up Tim Carbone and ask if they were planning on playing Like A Buddha mainly because I’ve geeking out on it recently, he texted him back with a, “We’ll see,” type answer. As we settled in the pit for our shots that is exactly what they decided to open their set with. I couldn’t help but give J-man a quick fist bump between photos. Here is the rest of the setlist from Archive.
SET I: Like a Buddha> The Jupiter and The 119, Potter’s Field, Warhead Boogie> Head, Black Elk Speaks, Bird in a House, 1759
You can listen to Gerry Gladu’s Recording on Archive. Thanks Gerry. (http://www.archive.org/details/rre2011-08-20)
The crowd was going absolutely nuts as I spent the first couple songs taking my pictures. RRE has a very distinct sound and twang to their style, it’s almost hypnotic and while you are dancing to it, it’s so easy to get swept up into the emotion of the song. They know how to bring dynamism to their songs erupting into a cacophony of sound before ripping out the bottom for some minimalist jams. There is no question this is by far the best Railroad Earth set that I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing from the folk rock of The Jupiter and The 119 to the almost Celtic styling on Potter’s Field, they started very strong. The Warhead Boogie into Head was in one word powerful. Tim Carbone’s violin adds a level of elegance and beauty to their songs and shows his versatility with each new number. The vocals of Todd Sheaffer are definitely distinctive, he does such a good job of annunciating and really pushing out each lyric, however the most impressive player of the night may have been Andy Goessling who is such a talented multi-instrumentalists that he can singlehandedly shift RRE’s sound depending on what he plays. They closed with a barn burning 1759. It was just a jaw-dropping set from start to finish, I was filled with a level of admiration and excitement for Railroad Earth that I have been missing when I saw them previously. They are certainly on fire and have just announced a three-night stand at The Ogden for New Year’s. Denver very much appreciates this RRE.
“… And now it’s our turn to get to play the family picnic.” – Jeff Austin
The only word to describe Yonder Mountain String Band’s performance at Red Rocks this year is energetic. From start to finish they came out with the fire in their fingers and created a set to please. People have complained that the last few years have seen lackluster performances from YMSB; this was not the case on this particular evening at The Edge. They opened with a scorching What The Night Brings; again here is the rest of the setlist from Archive.
SET I: What The Night Brings, Night Out, Criminal, Easy As Pie, Pretty Daughter, Complicated, Ten> Shake Me Up> Ten, Town, Spanish Harlem, Little Lover, Little Rabbit, Sideshow Blues
SET II: East Nashville Easter, Finally Saw The Light, All The Time, Just The Same, Too Late Now, Pockets, Lord Only Knows, On The Run, Rain Still Falls, 40 Miles From Denver, Keep On Going, Dawns Early Light> Robots> Two Hits And The Joint Turned Brown> Keep On Going [reprise]
ENCORE: Southern Flavor, Shady Grove
You can stream or download the Gerry’s recording on Archive. (http://www.archive.org/details/ymsb2011-08-20)
Yonder passes around vocal duties like Germans pass around a boot of beer. They are like the power trio of bluegrass except that there are four of them, which is certainly a minimal lineup by any the genre’s standards. The crowd was packed and definitely a little wasted from what I could tell. After I took my photos I saw a girl b-line it over the rail by the stairs to let her dinner go, and truthfully I was a little taken aback. I guess in my 17 YMSB shows I never noticed how wasted some of the fans get. There was more than one story that floated through the ether about uncouth behavior from kids at the show. Other than that one incident I didn’t really see much else out of line but seriously guys be safe and take care of each other. Despite a few rumblings from the crowd the majority were there to have a great time with their favorite Colorado band. Yonder kept the energy level high with classic renditions of Criminal and Danny Barnes’ Pretty Daughter but the highlight of set one was the Ten sandwich with Shake Me Up as the meat of the hoagie.
At setbreak I went backstage, which was a surreal experience to say the least. I didn’t get down into the tunnel, but I did get up into the VIP lounge area. I took the opportunity to tell Todd and Tim from Railroad Earth that they played an incredible show and that I was very happy they were on a part of this stellar lineup. I settled down in the back corner and while the rest of the VIPs were ushered out I got ready to take some video, because when am I going to get this chance again? The bass rumblings of Kaufman got East Nashiville Easter started before they tore into the song. The sound was boomy backstage so as soon as I got my video I slipped up behind the main speakers for a few shots, before heading back out into the sea of people. All in all it was probably one of my best setbreaks at Red Rocks.
The set started a little slower than the first and saw Yonder sticking to more docile tunes. Although numbers like Too Late Now and Pockets showed glimpses of what was to come it wasn’t until On The Run literally erupted into a bluegrass volcano from which the rest of the set flowed like an ooze of magma-infused goodness. When the boys really kicked on the afterburners the rest of the set was remarkable. The Dawns Early Light into Robots into Two Hits into Keep On Going was the reason I continue coming back to see these guys. It was just a good time. They encored with punchy Southern Flavor before a beautiful Shady Grove. And just like that the 6 plus hours of bluegrass on the Rocks was over. As the kids shuffled out of the venue I couldn’t help but have a warm feeling in my stomach happy and full of pride for this great state I call home. Thanks again to Summer Camp for arranging my pass and giving me yet another astonishing opportunity to capture what I love for everyone out there. With summer coming to a close being at Red Rocks affirms everything I love about live music and I was happy to make the trip one more time.