Wood & Wire Lift Denver Into New Heights On A Snowy Night [Photos]

first_imgThe surprise April snowstorm evidently gave Denver concertgoers a reason to dance and drink even more at a rowdy Friday night show at the Bluebird Theater. Colorado native bluegrass band Rapidgrass delivered a jam-filled set to really get the crowd rocking. Then Austin headliner Wood & Wire brought a more traditional bluegrass sound to the stage than most Colorado bluegrass-jamband fans are used to hearing, but brought just as much energy and even more dancing.The band entered the stage full of smiles as they looked out at the already raucous crowd. As they started to pick, the crowd stomped in unison to the rhythm of the bass and mandolin. The stomping spread to the upper balcony that made it sound like the band had a bass drum anchoring their song. Even before the first instrumental breakdown, a full-fledged bluegrass party had broken out.Banjoist Trevor Smith gave instrumental fans what they were looking for. Sporting a hat that read “Segovia Truck Stop” to go along with his handlebar moustache, Smith’s banjo licks rolled up and down the instrument, almost making it difficult to hear over the screams and claps from the audience.What struck me about this band was their ability to seamlessly trade and build off of each other’s solos. As soon as Smith had punctuated his, Billy Bright had already fired off into an ear-tickling mandolin solo. Frontman Tony Kamel would then join in, rolling his fingers in classic bluegrass guitar fashion, before giving way to perfectly fitting bass breakdowns from Dom Fisher, and then repeating this cycle for a few measures.Tony Kamel’s skill and aura as a frontman really set the band apart from other bluegrass bands in the scene. His powerful Texas drawl echoed off the red curtains of the Bluebird, as he hung on notes so long that it seemed like the venue had surround sound. The audience hollered as he built his lyrics the same way they cheered during the climax of the band’s solos, and the harmonizing by Smith and Fisher were perfect compliments to Kamel’s voice, truly cementing the group with a traditional bluegrass sound.The setlist consisted of relatively short pieces that demonstrated the width and strength of this young band’s growing repertoire. After a number of originals, the band satisfied classic folk fans with a bouncing cover of John Hartford’s “Down on the Levee.” They transitioned then into one of their strongest pieces of the night, the beautifully written “Overblown,” which had the crowd screaming at the mentions of the Rocky Mountains and Colorado.The band also demonstrated their ability to rock on slower bluegrass ballads. Fisher’s bass line carried the tune and Kamel’s voice shined on “Awake in the Wake,” which trembled like the Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun.”The deepest jam of the set came during “Freeborn Man.” Kamel showed off some of his best guitar chops and the band traded solos until the crowd was brought into a frenzy. The fan favorites “Anne Marie” and “Mexico” had most of the crowd singing along and were some of the definite highlights of the evening. Kamel laughed and mentioned how great it was to have so many fans know the words to their songs.The band finished up with a fitting encore of bluegrass classic, recognized by many from Jerry Garcia and David Grisman’s catalogue, “Drink Up and go Home”, as the crowd finished their drinks and sang along one last time.The success of the night can be measured by the smiles and laughter from the crowd, as audience members spent most of their night drinking, stomping, and trying to teach themselves how to square dance. The band couldn’t stop giggling at each other’s solos and the energy from the crowd. The songwriting skills of this band really stands out from your typical bluegrass show, and the precision of their harmonizing and breakdowns makes it a spectacle that you won’t want to miss.The tour continues tonight at Town Hall in Boulder before rolling on back to Texas. Catch them if you can tonight, but they’ll be back soon as they are definitely at home in Colorado.Enjoy the photo gallery below, courtesy of Dylan Langille of ontheDL Photography. Load remaining imageslast_img

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