Seattle went bluegrass Saturday night, as roughly 1,700 fans packed the Sodo Showbox for the sold out Trampled By Turtles show.
Decked out in their finest flannel, beards quaffed, wearing lens-less glasses and their fanciest duds, the crowd got everything they paid for and a whole lot more.For nearly two hours, the Minnesota quintet led those in attendance on journey of new-age Americana.
Throughout the night, the band led the crowd on a simply beautiful tour of some of the fastest bluegrass tracks performed juxtaposed with slow, thoughtful melodies that flowed like a babbling brook.
While lead vocalist Dave Simonett belted out fan favorites, sprinkling tracks from the groups newest record “Wild Animals,” their seventh studio album, bassist Tim Saxhaug laid down Appalachian beats. With Dave Carroll on banjo, and Erik Berry on mandolin, each of the members played with a ferociousness, not often found in bluegrass music.
Ryan Young, the band’s fiddle player drew his bow across the strings with such lightning speed, it was as if he was challenging Charlie Daniels.
When the band travels to Georgia next month, the devil himself would be wise not to challenge them, else wise he’ll have to bring golden instruments for the entire band the way they were playing.
At times the vocals were were drowned out, but it mattered little as their instrumentals were simply on another level I didn’t think possible in bluegrass. If Slayer decided to record their next album using acoustic string instruments, it’d sound a lot like Trampled By Turtles.
It was a shock there wasn’t smoke billowing up from their fingertips as they feverishly strummed, bowed, plucked and picked their way through the band’s catalogue.
With harmonies reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, and Nash with a splash of Young, this band is hitting its stride.The show’s crescendo, just before the end of their first set, came when they band broke out its massive hit “Wait So Long,” which had the entire place stomping and clapping along.
The entire night was a musical gift to bluegrass fans, starting with the opening band, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers.
It won’t be long until they’re headlining the side stage of festivals with their 1970s rock ensemble.Bluhm draws on her strong vocals, emulating some of the most iconic female voices in rock from Lita Ford to Stevie Nicks with less vibrato.
If either makes it way back to anywhere near the Pacific Northwest, they’re both worth seeing, no matter the venue.