The Trongone Band

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The Trongone Band

Tradition Brewing | Newport News, VA
July 7, 2018

There was a whole lot of hair on the stage as brothers, and brothers in music, in the form of the Richmond, Virginia-based quartet, Trongone Band took the stage at Tradition Brewery in Newport News. Touring in support of their album, Keys to the House, they got the crowd excited during their sound check and then kept their hands together and their feet on the floor during the entire performance.

If you mix Black Crowes, Blackberry Smoke, and the Allman Brothers together, you end up with this style of rocky Americana that is filled with thick keyboard and organ riffs and vocals provided by Ben (Wolf) White. The other brother in music is Chip Hale who led the band with his lively bass lines and harmonic vocals.

The Trongone Band takes its name from brothers, Andrew and Johnny Trongone, who formed the band with their father and played regularly at the Cary Street Café in Richmond. They have embarked on a southern-midwest tour to promote their debut album which keeps them busy through September and then to Belguim for a five week stretch of nightly shows at the Wavre-Sainte-Catherineat the end of the year.

Check them out at https://www.trongoneband.com

Words and Photos by Glenn Woodell (GlennWoodell.com)

*Click on images to enlarge...*

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Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real w/ Support from Particle Kid

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Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real w/ Support from Particle Kid

Boathouse LiveNewport News, VA
June 9, 2018 

Questions could be heard in the crowd about who the opening act was for Lukas Nelson, the son of Folk and Country legend, Willie Nelson. The tour bus was parked just outside of Boathouse Live, a brand new venue for the Hampton Roads area. The event staff wasn’t sure about what time the show was going to start. There was word of the owner out playing golf with Lukas earlier in the day and them making their way back for the show when they felt like it.

Eventually the lights dimmed and some psychedelic folk act started playing. The opening song was titled, “Everything is Bullshit” and set the stage for this psychedelic-folk singer who had an astronaut for his guitar tech – a long-haired, space helmet-laden character who became at least a small part of the entire act.

As it turned out, this was Micah Nelson, brother of Lukas Nelson, who has his own touring band, Particle Kid. After a few minutes, Lukas walked out and joined Micah on a couple of songs. The crowd that had been somewhat lukewarm suddenly woke up and paid attention to the rest of the show. The set was short but every song was different from the next. Imagine Pink Floyd meets the Teletubbies but way better.

Since Micah was playing with his brother’s band, there was only a short break in between shows. None of the usual rearranging of gear and no mic checks. Lukas came out in short order and took command. The moderate crowd really responded to the sly yet inviting grin that Lukas kept for most of the show.

His songs were part folk and part jam with extended solos that the crowd really liked. Although his music was quite upbeat and rocky, his ballads were captivating. At times you could hear Willie up on the stage. Close your eyes while listening to Running Shine or Just Outside of Austin and you’d swear you were listening to a young version of him.

His band was not your typical Country band with violin or pedal steel. It had a drummer along with a separate percussionist. The keyboard player doubled up on the electric guitar. And the bass player rolled folk, jazz, and funk all together for a lively sound.

At mid-show, Lukas traded in the road-worn, 1956 Les Paul Junior for a beautiful Gibson acoustic guitar. He got closer to the audience and gave them a more intimate performance. The whole room sang along to his cover of Tom Petty’s, Breakdown before he brought out the electric again.

Boathouse Live is an attempt at resurrecting an older venue in Norfolk called The Boathouse. It closed its doors in 2003 after a hurricane damaged it beyond reasonable repair. If this show was any indication of the enthusiasm that the crowds are capable of here, the new Boathouse Live just might take hold as a good destination for regional and national acts. 

Words and Photos by Glenn Woodell (GlennWoodell.com)

*Click on images to enlarge...*

 

 

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Elephant Revival - May 20, 2018 - Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO

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Elephant Revival - May 20, 2018 - Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO

Elephant Revival

May 20, 2018 - Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO

photos and words for The Lot Scene by Ryan Boldrey

THESE HEARTS, THESE DREAMS, THESE WEBS WE WEAVE

ELEPHANT REVIVAL SAYS FAREWELL FOR NOW WITH SUNDAY SHOW AT RED ROCKS

When I first saw Elephant Revival, a few years into their journey, in 2010 at MeadowGrass Music Festival in Black Forest, Colorado, I had no idea the impact this five-piece band out of Nederland would have on me as our paths intertwined over the next decade.

I was covering the festival for Colorado Community Media and while I was tasked with shooting photos of numerous bands over the weekend and writing just a short copy block on the overall experience, this particular group I just wanted to hang out and watch. I had heard of them, but not much beyond that. 

Watching them for the first time, I was immediately transfixed by Bonnie Paine, her voice – unlike anything I had ever heard before – and her washboard and percussion. Add in the fiddle playing of Bridget Law, the songwriting and voices of Dan Rodriguez and Sage Cook, and the multi-instrumentation of Cook and Dango Rose, and I knew right away I’d be seeing them again, and soon.  

Over the next eight years, I was not only fortunate enough to see them in numerous venues across the state and country, but to be there for a handful of monumental moments in the band’s history as well, including some of the first shows with newer members Darren Garvey and Charlie Rose. I watched as they evolved from a Sunday afternoon performer at MeadowGrass to a Saturday night headliner, to a band that worked its way up the Red Rocks ladder and graced various festival stages across the country. 

I was there in 2014 in Colorado Springs, the night Sage announced he was leaving the band, and was at Campout for the Cause a few months later when he played his first festival set with his new band, We Dream Dawn, and the Elephant Revival tour bus pulled up behind the stage mid-set. 

I watched as the band members got off the bus and took up different vantage points on the festival grounds to watch and listen. It wasn’t long before he invited Bridget and Bonnie onto the stage to join his new band and later that night during their headlining set, they returned the favor, and Sage sat in for a good portion of the show. He offered up his usual banter and let the crowd now how much love and admiration he had for Charlie – the man who stepped into his shoes when he left – how they were both from Kansas and how Charlie had a deep musical and personal history with Bonnie and the gang.

Having gotten to know Sage a bit over the past few years, as well as Bridget and some of the other band members, I was made aware by Bridget, a few weeks ahead of the announcement, that she would be leaving the band prior to Fall Tour 2017 and sadly, I also learned of the pending “indefinite” hiatus the band is now in a few weeks before that news went public.

There was no way in hell I was missing this last show at Red Rocks – especially considering all of the band’s current and former members would be present. 

Despite dealing with a medical emergency earlier in the week, I went against what would have been my doctor’s wishes had I told her I’d be flying out to cover a show, caught a 6 a.m. flight out of Grand Rapids, Michigan on Sunday morning – camera, laptop and rain gear in tow – and made my way to Colorado. I could have used a bit more raingear however, as the weather Sunday night was easily the second worst I have ever encountered at Red Rocks in countless shows there.

As it would be, though, despite cold, hard rains during opening sets by Hiss Golden Messenger and Blind Pilot – two bands you shouldn’t definitely check out if you haven’t listened to them yet – the skies parted for Elephant’s much anticipated appearance. And while there was no rain falling from the sky as Elephant took to the stage, there was nary a dry eye in the house as the band opened with Bonnie’s “Will Carry On,” followed by Dan’s “Home in Your Heart,” two of ER’s softer, deeper, lovelier songs that poetically put on display in front of 8,000-plus people exactly where this band stood in their relationships with one another as well as themselves as they readied to part ways.

“Falling down/spin me ‘round/no one said this would be easy now/but you’ve gotta keep moving somehow,” crooned Rodriguez to a crowd that had already been brought to their knees by Bonnie’s voice hitting every note on lines such as “We may never be perfect/maybe that is not the point/search to know the language of our part/ from our heart …” 

With worn emotion on every face on the stage, Dan followed “Home in Your Heart” by telling the crowd, “we’re all in this together everybody.”

From there, the band launched into Bridget’s fiddle-driven instrumental, “The Pasture,” breathing life and dance into the crowd that knew they were in for an emotional rollercoaster of a ride, a tale of love, intertwining hearts and good-bye for now.  

The coaster hit its peaks and valleys, visiting next Bonnie’s “Remembering a Beginning,” then Dan’s “Birds and Stars” and after that Charlie’s “Sea Monster,” the latter providing an opportunity to look through another set of eyes about “a world that provides and expires/how we grow, come to know our heart’s desires.”

After Bonnie’s “Spinning,” (These hearts/These dreams/These webs we weave), Bridget addressed the crowd, letting them know that they could interpret what was happening a lot of different ways, but the band was simply expanding their own web as they move on from this chapter of their history. 

And while other projects, such as TIERRO with Bridget Law and We Dream Dawn have already taken flight as has Dan’s solo career, separate endeavors are underway or ready to be embarked upon for the rest of Elephant Revival.

And although there is much to look forward to in the individual and collective careers of the band’s members, there is no certainty that the five founding members will ever share a stage together again, and while one can hope someday they will reunite, all those in attendance had to wonder if it was the last time they would howl at a rising moon together in unison during “Sing to the Mountain.”

With highlights such as a powerful “When I Fall,” a rousing cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar,” a take on Josh Ritter’s “Girl in the War” and ER originals “Drop,” “Season Song,” and “Ring around the Moon,” among the most memorable and notable moments of the show came when Sage joined his former bandmates to sing his poignant, “Go On,” perhaps the most fitting song of the night.

Another huge moment featuring Sage on vocals came late in the set as the band shared the stage with Bonnie’s sister Annie, as well as members of Fruition and The Deer for a rendition of Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help from My Friends” in which Sage and Bonnie took the early leads before giving way to Fruition’s Jay Cobb Anderson and Mimi Naja. 

Following “Friends,” in pure Elephant Revival tradition, the band came around a single mic for an intimate, lasting “Good Graces” before saying their first good-bye of the night.

The band would return for a three-song encore that left nothing behind on the stage as they led off with “Lighthouse” and then closed it down with passion-fueled takes on Dan’s “Grace of a Woman” and Bonnie’s “Rogue River.” 

All in all, the show, which also featured a considerable amount of fiddle from longtime collaborator Enion Pelta-Tiller and choreographed dance from Colorado’s Wild Heart Dance troupe, will go down as one of the most well put-together set lists the band has likely every written and one of the most beautiful send-offs any fan could ever ask for.

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WinterWonderGrass CO 2018 - Saturday

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WinterWonderGrass CO 2018 - Saturday

WINTERWONDERGRASS CO 2018

FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE ARCHIVE

for The Lot Scene by Lindsay

Saturday Highlights

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades - The Lil' Smokies - Fruition - Greensky Bluegrass

     Ah, day two. The day where you begin to familiarize yourself with the fairgrounds, regroup with your friends and reminisce on the previous day’s festivities. But Winter Wondergrass offers more to this experience. On day two, the masses made their way to the slopes where The Wooks were playing a set at a mountaintop lodge, which was only accessible by skis. This is where it’s decided: Bloody Mary’s on a mountaintop and Champagne Powder® runs at the ‘Boat is what takes Winter Wondergrass to the next level. Not only are you seeing class-act music, but you’re also getting a workout in with scenic views to boot. The pursuit of powder is truly what draws in so many of the attendees, both local and out-of-state.

     After changing out ski boots for Sorels, festival goers made their way back to the fairgrounds. Horseshoes & Hand Grenades opened the Saturday Main Stage with a glorious set, filled with slap-stick style bluegrass (see: Gaelic-style a cappella, “Barley Malt”). Covers like Woody Guthrie’s “Danville Girl” and Talking Head’s “Naïve Melody” began to draw in any stragglers hanging in the back. Finishing off with a high-tempo “Whiskey>jam>Whiskey” drew in the crowd that would remain for what seemed like the remainder of the day. 

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

     Montana-based Lil Smokies brought in a new energy with their progressive sound. Stand-outs like “The City,” “Ms. Marie” and “The Gallery” instilled an emotional gusto that got the crowd buzzing on the coldest day of the festival. Then the clouds began to set in and Fruition took the stage. 

The Lil' Smokies

     It seems like Portland-bred Fruition always gets the brunt of the conditions at Winter Wondergrass, and I couldn’t think of any band that could handle it better. Maybe it’s their Pacific Northwest grit or general rock ‘n roll attitude that helps them withstand the elements, but undoubtedly, Fruition is approaching their sets with a new prowess these days. Their new album, “Watching It All Fall Apart,” acts as a beacon of connection with the audience in a way that hasn’t been touched before. Mimi Naja’s “Northern Town” triggered a snowfall, which made those around me question if Ullr had an affinity towards the soulful love song. I’d like to think so.

Kellen Asebroek of Fruition

     Night Two ended with WWG-vets, Greensky Bluegrass. Most of the boys graced the stage clad in branded festie merch, while dobro player, Anders Beck, decided to play it safe with a ski helmet and goggles. It was a smart move on Beck’s part; snow began to fall harder onto the crowd and onto his dobro. At one point the boys thanked the crowd and dubbed the Colorado fans as some of the most loyal (and crazy) fans to walk the planet. They’re not wrong.  They opened with the jam-heavy “Don’t Lie > Gimme Some Lovin’ > Don’t Lie,” to warm up the crowd. It seemed as though all 5,000 attendees were crammed towards the front of this show because it was packed, ruthless, and undoubtedly warm. Other stand-out songs were the Bruzza tune “Take Cover,” where shout-outs to it being “REALLY SNOWY” and “VERY…COLD” had the crowd all smiles. More climate-focused songs like “Worried About the Weather” and “Burn Them” payed homage to the elements. But it was the “Broke Mountain Breakdown > Walk Away >  Broke Mountain Breakdown” that kept the crowd on their nearly-frost bitten toes. As the set ended, Beck showed his “snowbro” to the audience who erupted in cheers. It seems only fitting that the band, who seems synonymous with the term “Winter Wondergrass,” would be snowed on the entirety of their set. With Andrew Lincoln’s unrivaled lights penetrating the snowfall, it was an image and feeling that cannot be replicated by the written word.

Paul Hoffman of Greensky Bluegrass

Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY on its way everyone!!!

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WinterWonderGrass CO 2018 - Friday

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WinterWonderGrass CO 2018 - Friday

WINTERWONDERGRASS CO 2018

FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE ARCHIVE

for The Lot Scene by Lindsay

Introduction  

6th Annual Winter Wondergrass Festival - An Experiential Journey of Colorado Connectedness

     Winter Wondergrass is not to be taken lightly. With temperatures barely rising above 20 and constant snowfall, it can seem like a daunting experience. Logistics can seem overbearing for the first-timer: Who’s driving who? Do I book a lodge close to the festival or stay at a friend’s house an Uber ride away? Do I fly into Steamboat or Denver? How many jackets is too many jackets? (The answer is none. Bring all the jackets.) Even the drive can make you sweat: Why did I wear all my layers in the car? You begin to disrobe; your bestie in the passenger seat pulls off your jacket, piling your layers in their lap. Crap, I forgot my new $200 ski gloves back in Denver, three hours away. But, be patient. This is all a part of the journey.

     As you cross over Rabbit Ears Pass, the highway begins to widen, and you get your first glimpse of Steamboat Springs. The sunshine radiates over the ever-expansive valley; the town lies nestled along the sparkling Yampa River, adjacent to a mountain range that hugs the Western ski town. You smile as you see the white tents of the festival engulfed in the thick of it. And then your friend says he has an extra pair of gloves. Things are starting to fall into place. And you haven’t even gotten to the festival grounds yet. It’s at this moment when all the logistical uncertainties fade away. You’ve made it to the mecca of all Colorado festivals. 

     Dubbed by the creators as “part music festival, part beer tasting, part snow holiday and part family reunion,” Winter Wondergrass is an inextricably woven mountain gathering. Yes, it’s appeal is created by the unmatched lineup, award-winning microbrews and word-class skiing, But, at its core, Winter Wondergrass is solidified by the immaculate organization, the experiential winter journey and the organic connectedness of the community.

Friday Highlights

Jon Stickley Trio - Brad Parsons Band - Elephant Revival - Yonder Mountain String Band

     The 6th Annual Winter Wondergrass Festival opened its doors on Friday afternoon with Jon Stickley Trio hitting the main stage. The sun was shining bright against the bluebird skies, and the Trio’s cosmic instrumentals acted as a soundtrack to the festival itself, mimicking an Opening Ceremony of sorts. Stickley looked out into the neon-clad crowd both in admiration and in awe.

The Jon Stickley Trio

     In between the main stage acts, attendees could make their way into three different beer tents, all of which housed local breweries offering free tasters for the early attendees. You could warm up in the tents by means of body heat and award-winning hops. Not to mention dancing to epic sets by Brad Parsons, Old Salt Union and The Wooks.

The Brad Parsons Band

     As the sun began to set and the temperatures began to drop, people made their way to the main stage for one of Elephant Revival’s last shows for the foreseeable future. The frigid conditions triggered mic  issues, causing the band to change opening songs right off the bat. It was quite literally a chilling set, wrought in emotion and unbridled beauty. Songs like “Raven”, “Tam Lin Set,” “Grace of a Woman,” and “Ring Around the Moon” brought tears to both the crowd and the band, instilling this sense of love, loss, and new beginnings. While the band encountered sound and communication issues throughout the set, the presence of two ex-members acted as the glue to keep it all together: stunning fiddle-gypsy, Bridget Law, and folk-singer extraordinaire, Sage Cook, who hasn’t been with the band in almost three years. It was almost as if those in the crowd and those on stage felt this sense of familiarity of hardship. It was cold. It was difficult. It was emotional. It was beautiful.

Elephant Revival

     Following Elephant Revival’s set and checking into warmth of the tent sets (more Stickley, more Brad Parsons and more Old Salt Union), hordes of people trickled in to see Yonder Mountain String Band headline the first night. The snow started to fall even harder, and the liveliness of the audience erupted. Along the same theme of new beginnings, Allie Kral looked stunning, glowing as a momma-to-be in her fur lined, floor length peacoat and fur trapper hat. Her sound ignited the audience, bringing warmth to those who didn’t even know they needed it. 

Allie Kral of Yonder Mountain String Band

     As most festivarians know, the real fun comes out late-night. Winter Wondergrass holds the intrepid “Grass After Dark,” and this year was stacked with so many great sets that it was difficult to choose. It’s recommended to check out the Gondola shows, where you can only access it by gondola, getting dropped off at one big summit party. People literally splayed out of the gondolas and stumbled into the venue. Grant Farm’s “Grantful Dead Revue” showcased the Friday night set, with epic Dead covers like “Althea” and “China Cat Sunflower > Know You Rider.”  

Stay tuned for Saturday and Sunday coverage coming your way!!

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