Leftover Salmon at the Stanley 2016
Festival Experience Archive
for The Lot Scene by Parker
Larry Keel & Friends (Surprise Matinee Set) - Leftover Salmon
Up and at ‘em on Saturday and ready for more, the time was growing closer until the “Surprise Matinee Set - It’ll Freak You Out Who’s Playing!” And, I honestly admit, I was a tad freaked out to discover who would be gracing the stage in the Concert Hall that afternoon. There had been a few solid rumors floating around that it might be Jeff Austin or Sam Bush as they were both in nearby Longmont that afternoon as well, however, these rumors proved false as we all entered the hall at two o’clock. All speculation was cast aside as soon as two-thirty rolled around and, lo and behold, Larry and Jenny Keel walked out on stage with Alwyn Robinson! What a surprise, honest and true! And what a stellar surprise it was, too! I am a huge fan of Larry and Jenny and to see them here for this huge party weekend was quite the sight for us all…and a very welcome sight at that. They opened things up with a song about a haunted house Larry had lived in somewhere in Virginia. “Little Green Man” instantly gives you that grit and dirty goodness we have all come to expect from Larry over the years. Great little ensemble sound, too, with Alwyn on drums and Jenny on her erstwhile bass. I knew this set was going to be great from the get-go. About a minute into the song, Larry showered us with some serious guitar goodies, fast pickin’ to the core. No one picks quite like Larry Keel. They took this directly into a track from Larry’s new album Experienced: “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong”. A bit of a cautionary tale regarding the lady in question, this one is bluesy and full of attitude. Some more tough, tantalizing guitar licks from Larry for us to enhance the mood of this song. No one sings quite like Larry Keel, either, folks. Organic, from the center of the chest, full voice and full of conviction. Love it. They followed this with Larry’s take on modern technology, “The Internet”. Slower and bit more brooding than the first couple of selections, Larry almost dropping to a low spoken voice at times, this song possesses its own fierceness all punctuated by the marvelous madness that is Larry’s guitar. So far, so very good, my friends. We had the good fortune to shoot a video of the next song for you — “Lizard Lady”. Please enjoy!
Now you’ve got a sense of Larry if you’ve never seen him live before. And, if you have, then you got a bit more of the awesome that is Larry. I just adore his interactions with his wife on stage, too. What a couple those two make, both on and off stage. And we were all certainly very happy that they were joining us that Saturday. Jenny and Larry wrote the next song together, per their introduction of it. “The Heartbeat, the Soulbeat” saw the sweeter side of Larry and Jenny come through in music, live for us all to share in. The lightning quick ending breakdown was pretty magical as well. No doubts Larry can play and play super fast, right? Hot damn! Then Andy Thorn and Drew Emmitt joined the happy throng for some good times done right, Larry telling the audience how lucky he is to get to pick with these guys. I can agree with that. Instantly bigger and bolder sound for the next song, “Pioneers” also from his new album. Fantastic banjo work from Andy as always, really catering to the whole pioneer feeling of this selection. And Larry crooning out the story of hardship in the west the entire time. Just lovely. Drew was up to the microphone next to sing us one. And sing us one, he did, my friends! “Nine Pound Hammer” was a fun little romp through some string band musicianship. Larry throwing down solos on his guitar, Drew answering on mando — pure excellence. Not to mention Andy going absolutely nuts on banjo. Just supremely enjoyable music in all regards. “Bloody Mary Morning” was next in line in the set and was apropos given our location and that we’d all be drinking bloodies the very next morning. Way to call it, Larry and Jenny! (Who had their own bloodies on stage I might add. Lucky ducks!) Vince Herman ended up coming out on stage to sing a couple of verses for us and join in the ever-building craziness. A little on down the set we got a nasty good “Culpepper Woodchuck” from that group of maniacs on stage that was all sorts of filthy awesome. So much gritty playing, so much raw musicality and it went on for minutes and minutes. We managed to grab the very end part for you on video — apologies for not getting all of it. Hope you like!
As a way of reparation, we’d like to offer this full video of the Andy Thorn-led instrumental “Star of Munster”. Talk about some fast pickin’! Wow…how do they do that? Seriously. Can you dig it?
Larry and crew closed the whole show down with a soulful “Freeborn Man”, Larry taking the opportunity to lay down some serious guitar work in between, as well as throwing down some superb vocals. One helluva Larry Keel kind of way to end a Larry Keel kind of set. So many huge thanks to the Keels and their pals for putting on such a fantastic show! And big thanks to Leftover Salmon for inviting them to join in the insanity at the Stanley this year! And, they were right, I was totally freaked out!
After a few hours’ break and after we’d had a chance to change into our formal attire (per the instructions) it was time once again to descend to the Concert Hall and soak up some prime time Leftover Salmon. And, boy, if we weren’t all looking damn good, if I do say so myself. Not a bad looking crew at all!! Guess you might say that we all clean up pretty nicely. Guess you might say… Ah, to the music! Jeff Coffin and Erik Deutsch were joining the boys for another evening and it would seem that Larry Keel was to guest in on a couple right from the beginning. Drew was up to the mic for the first song of the night, “Tangled Up in Blue”. This was a nice treat, some Bob Dylan right off the bat. Not a bad way to start things off whatsoever. Drew sounded great on the vocals, too…really belting them out and getting things going in an energetic way. Andy Thorn’s banjo was ringing out into the crowd just as Coffin’s sax fired up forming a nice duet for a few bars. “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” was next up and we grabbed a really nice video of it for you which we have here:
Just delightful, no? So great to get two Dylan songs straight in a row, too. In honor of Greg Garrison’s birthday, he sang us a lovely “When I Paint My Masterpiece”. Alwyn pounding out that familiar 3-2 clave beat while Erik went to town on the keys for us, Drew nailing down a sweet mando line, not mention Vince on guitar — all made for an excellent rendition of this one. And more Dylan. Hmmmmm. Something was dawning on the crowd, I could see it. Our mutual recognition that this might just be an entire Dylan set! What a treat, right? I’ll say. “Simple Twist of Fate” had Vince back up to the mic to take the lead vocals. Drew’s mandolin was ever-present throughout providing a lovely and light backdrop to the slightly heavier lyrics. Andy Thorn had a really tight and beautiful solo a little ways into the piece. Just marvelous. And so it was a Bob Dylan set!! How ridiculously cool! Feeling so lucky to have been a part of this! And grateful. Andy Thorn stepped up to lead the next one, a Dylan banjo tune called “Nashville Skyline Rag”. Some good ol’ fashioned straight pickin’ with this selection. And a great tune for the band to showcase their skills and talents on their respective instruments. Especially of note was Greg’s birthday solo on that fatty bass. This led to a crazy big drum solo from Alwyn. Also a great number for dancing the night away as we all did. So much freakin’ fun! Drew grabbed up his electric guitar for the next piece, “Meet Me in the Morning”, and treated us all to a little bit of straight up rock’n’roll. He also gave us a great treatment of the lyrics, Drew-style. Really solid keyboards and sax going down in this one, too. Bravo to Erik on his monster solo. That cat can hit those keys, man!! This Dylan set was turning out to be white hot. Vince gave us that nice familiar lead-in on guitar for the instantly recognizable “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” which followed “Morning” and then took up the vocals in a perfect attitude and style for this iconic song. Talk about a crowd pleaser, too…but of course. I mean, who doesn’t love yelling “everybody must get stoned” at the absolute top of her or his lungs alongside a few hundred of your favorite folk? We all certainly did, as evidenced by the ringing of our collective shouts bouncing around the hall and beyond. Another beastly piano solo from Mr. Deutsch right smack in the middle here, too. Just nasty good. Jeff played the part of harmonica on his sax to much success. We all got “stoned” together that day let there be no doubt thanks to the boys in that band. Marvelous. And so much Dylan! Can’t stress that enough or be happy enough about it!! Especially since Leftover decided (apparently) to come out and kill it so summarily that evening. Must’ve had a band meeting or something. Ah, but it was now time for set break. And with it, the now infamous Jay Blakesburg photo shoot of all those assembled in their finery and fancy dress, to be immortalized in print like in that horror movie of renown. We all posed and smiled and looked the part as Jay snapped a few quick ones and it was done. Back to mingling and chitchatting for a few more minutes until things continued with the second act. What an evening so far!!
Vince approached the mic and said “let’s keep this thing going a little longer” and that’s exactly what we did for the second set. The band looked so good in their tuxedos — they clean up pretty well, too, I reckon. It’s always interesting to see folks in dress different from their normal way of living. And formal attire always transforms a person in some or many ways. A cool process to witness. They resumed the musical mayhem of the evening with “One More Chance”, a song that Vince introduced by way of telling a bit about his love story with his wife Marisa. So very sweet. Just so happens we captured that one on film for you to witness here:
Love that song. Just love it to bits. Drew was back up to the mic for the lead on “Western Skies” which followed. Great banjo and mando duet intro on this one with Alwyn backing keeping that steady beat. Building right into Drew’s crystal clear vocals. Such great motion to this song — you can really feel the forward building sensation. “…it takes me away, it takes me away.” True enough, this song took me away! On the wings of banjos and mandolins and saxophones…up and away! And then it was time for a little “Home Cookin’” with Vince at the helm. Another great choice for this evening of fun and finery. One you can really get down to — and we all did, rest assured. When you have a wave of sound the mass and magic of which you can practically surf down washing over you from seven different instruments you cannot help but surrender to the flow. And that is precisely what was going down with this “Home Cookin’”. Praise Salmon!! Then it was time to get raucous with a big, bold “Hollerwood” which came after. Hard drivin’ fast pickin’ was the name of this game all over the board. From Andy to Drew to Vince and back again and then to Erik and Jeff. A round robin of musical awesomesauceness in rapid time all up in our business. And we couldn’t have been happier about it. Wowsers! So much great music in one show!! After that they had brother Larry Keel come back out for some of that mess around du jour and he displayed his waxed mustache for all of us. Nothing but class, that man. Nothing but class. Andy Thorn was up to the microphone for the subsequent “Morning Sun” which continued the theme of super fast pickin’ led by Andy himself on banjo. Such inhuman quickness! Seriously, how do they do it? Never ceases to boggle the mind. And Vince is no slouch on that guitar, either…quite to the contrary. Man, that gent can pick that guitar in a masterful fashion. Which is exactly what he did for us in a huge, badass scorching hot solo. So, when was the last time you heard Larry Keel cover Grandmaster Flash? Certainly not soon enough. Ha! Was this hilarious and entertaining all in one go! Too damn funny. Larry rapped out “The Message” for us in very fine form nailing lyric after lyrics as he strummed along. The rest of the band were appropriately funky for the occasion, backing Larry up exquisitely and making this song work in so many ways. Bravo to Mr. Keel for his mad flossing skills!! Would love to see him cover some other vintage rap works. “California Love” anyone? Heh heh. Silas Herman even came out to play Vince’s guitar in the groovy mix while Vince took over on washboard. Pretty damn funky to say the least. So glad I was there to witness it and tell the tale for you. A huge, wacky finish brought this little present to a final end. Wow. What a ride. The final song of the set was a monstrous and madcap “Jack London” with Vince one last time at the fore to usher us out into the night once again. Every single member of the band was on absolute fire for this one, pulling out any and all available stops. Drew shredded his mando to pieces, Andy destroyed all last vestiges of his banjo, Erik’s keys were smashed to bits, Jeff’s sax was done for, Alwyn’s drums were busting one by one, Greg’s bass was basically kaput, and Vince’s guitar? Gone the way of the dodo. Such a thoroughly incredible jam through to the very end — one of the very traits we’ve come to love so much in this band. But they weren’t even remotely done yet! They went directly into the Stones’ “Honkey Tonk Women” from there and proceeded to blow all our minds with a crazy fast-paced version of this one. Sizzling good music and so great to hear this song played as such. Wicked quick playing from one and all once again, Andy Thorn’s banjo shining through about halfway along. Vince took care of those vocals quite superbly as well — always love hearing Papa Vince sing to us! Bold, bold sound and so much of it. Another one of those impressively large sound waves threatening to soak each and every one of us in so much musical bliss. But they weren’t done yet!! They, in turn, went directly into “Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad” for a little while to continue the evening with a touch of the Dead before heading right back into “Jack London” to finish it all off with a giant whiz-bang ending and massive thank you to the crowd. Holy crapness, what a night of music!! From start to finish just excellent through and through. So many thanks to the Salmon fellows and their guests for the unparalleled evening of musical adventure!! So many thanks to everyone at the Stanley Hotel for helping make this marvel of a night possible!! And, with a head reeling from so much amazingness, we all gathered our things and headed out to regroup for late night with Alwyn Robinson and friends. Damn, was that fun! Damn, how we couldn’t wait for more music! Damn! And Sunday Bloody Funday was just around the corner. Hot damn!
Sunday inbound soon, friends!!