WINTERWONDERGRASS CO 2018
FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE ARCHIVE
for The Lot Scene by Lindsay
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.
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.
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.
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.