Words & Photos By Brandon Picard
Friday night the well oiled machine that is Cornmeal came rolling through Boulder, Colorado. The Fox Theatre was amped as the youthful crowd in Boulder turned out in roaring fashion. Having seen Cornmeal a few times in my home town of Detroit, they were on my radar since moving out to Colorado. My girlfriend and I took the short forty minute trek from Denver to Boulder ready for the night ahead.
We arrived to The Acoustic Mining Company out of Denver swaying the early arriving guests to some mountain bluegrass melodies. Featuring each member of the band individually, The Acoustic Mining Company led their set in a showcasing fashion. Passing solos like a hot potato, each instrument had its say in the song. We really enjoyed the mellow sounds of TAMC (maybe that’s why they had the hour and a half opening set). The crowd at the fox quickly filled in with Cornmealers as TAMC played their last tune. Well done guys!
Ready to slap some blue-green-red-orange-purple grass in the face of Boulder, Cornmeal took the stage. The amped crowd seemed to have tripled in size from just a short hour prior. An instant bluegrass breakdown ensued. The frantic singing crowd led me to believe the passion for Cornmeal isn’t just in the mid west. The Cornmeal epidemic has spread west. The high energy in the Fox that night was evident as the moving feet of dancers shuffled on the floor like penguins dancing to the beat. The young smiling faces in the room that first set gave way to some serious piss your pants kind of scary for the second set.
Having not had the exposure to Cornmeal like some others (Nicolas Stock), not to be specific, I wasn’t prepared for the up and down tempos that Cornmeal produced. What I remembered from the band two years ago when I saw them, was up-tempo, hoe-down dancing, flip the bird to your mother bluegrass. Instead, what I got, to me, was outside the realm of bluegrass or even jam-grass music. The unpredictability of the second set is what I really enjoyed. The variation from genre to genre kept my attention for the entire second set. It was mesmerizing. From rock and roll to Psychedelic and even some jazz littered in, Cornmeal is breaking the boundaries of what bluegrass music was. Bluegrass music has changed in way that allows for young folks who crave other genres to come to a show and allow their musical taste buds to be pleased with the sounds of string music. The new era of Jam-grass superstars has arrived.