The Aggie Theatre
Fort Collins, Co
w/ The Magic Beans
Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock (phatphlogblog.blogspot.com)
Cornmeal decided to make yet another pilgrimage to the great state of Colorado before 2011 wound its way down the drain of life. They were doing a two night run hitting The Aggie and The Fox before gearing up for their December run on the East Coast. I got a chance to sit down with Cornmeal’s Wavy Dave and Chris Gangi before the show. It was a great conversation about everything from their new release of Live In Chicago Volume 2 and their upcoming studio album to Summer Camp and New Year’s runs. It was an enlightening talk and we will be featuring some our conversation in video form as well as on our MusicMarauders Live podcast next month.
The Magic Beans, a group that currently calls Boulder their home, are an eclectic mix of all things jam. I listened to some of their tracks online before the show and I was struck by their prowess with acoustic songs. At the Aggie, it was immediately apparent that they were young. They had solid musicianship but other than their “Rocky Top” opener they seemed to stray away from the sound that had drawn me to them in the first place. I will say that their second song “Band Camp” was like a washing machine full of jam on the spin cycle. It was a fifteen-minute opus that showed the wide variety of their skills. They ended their set some Bisco- sounding playing that, given the fact that they were opening for Cornmeal, seemed a bit out of place. Considering their age, I was impressed with their musicianship, and I look forward to seeing them evolve as a group. With a little more focus, they could become powerful force on the jam circuit.
Cornmeal Live at Aggie Theatre on November 17, 2011.
Cornmeal took The Aggie’s stage around 10:45 PM and jumped into a high energy hoedown that was like watching a bluegrass volcano erupt before my eyes. Cornmeal always brings the heat in Colorado; something about the altitude or the water out here just inspires them musically. They have become so well known out here as a band that always delivers live that they usually draw quite the crowd. A decent audience was in attendance for a Thursday night show in Fort Collins. They opted for one long set, playing almost two and a half hours rather than breaking it up. Allie shredded the violin like a female bluegrass version of Hendrix. Wavy Davy showed some of his skills on the banjo and he nailed some back and fort between himself and Kris. Highlights from the show included a very nice “Out Here On My Own” and a “Magic Stone Mountain” that would get even the most jaded fan dancing in the aisle. As they were about to wrap up the set they surprised the crowd with a beautiful version of John Lennon’s “Watching The Wheels”.
They encored with a huge “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” by the Talking Heads and Townes Van Zandt’s “White Freight Liner Blues”. It was a great close to an amazing show from Cornmeal. They bring so much to the table when it comes to their live shows, creating a palpable energy in any room they play and upping the ante for any other jamgrass band touring today. They are a fearless group that through their 12+ years of playing together have become so comfortable in that they are willing to take chances and push it to the limit. Their show at the Aggie was no exception and I will continue to look forward to their regular visits to Colorado.
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