Leftover Salmon 11.24.12
Words By Kevin Hahn
Photos By Jon Prins
Audio By Gerry Gladu
The Perfect Thanksgiving Cocktail
1 part Vince Herman & his commanding stage presence
1 part Drew Emmitt which includes his mandolin, electric guitar, fiddle, & smooth voice
2 parts Young Whipper-Snappers…Andy Hall on dobro + Any Thorn on banjo
2 parts unified and silky rhythm section… Wally Ingram on drums + Greg Garrison on bass
1 part Special guests: Billy Nershi + Silas Herman
1 part small kid in front of crowd jumping on stage to play Vince’s washboard
The Boulder Theater was a perfect choice for this 2-night run as the electricity and community-like atmosphere inside meshed very well with the laid-back, bluegrassy feeling which Leftover Salmon has become famous for. The scent of dreadlocks and long-nights on the road floated through my nostrils as if they were supposed to be there, but this didn’t matter to me as I was about to see one of my favorite bands do their thing, in their quasi-hometown. The house lights dimmed and the party was about to get going as I took my place in the balcony level of the theater. What were we to expect? Would Salmon and their special friends bring the heat that we all have fallen in love with and become accustomed to? All the questions bouncing around in my head quietly faded away as Drew Emmitt picked up his acoustic mandolin and our evening was about to begin…
Leftover Salmon Live at Boulder Theater on November 24, 2012.
The first couple songs of the evening seemed like a warm-up for both the band and the sound technicians. Then the party really decided to start with Billy Nershi (our beloved guitarist from the String Cheese Incident) entering stage left to play lead on "Rollin' in my Sweet Babies Arms" and "All Night Ride." The flat-picking bluegrass guitar master fit perfectly into the bands sound and his constant challenging of Andy Hall to pick faster, harder and in a more unique way provided some truly special moments. The short, but sweet first set ended with a high intensity pick-happy crescendo with Vince Herman providing his classic one-liners and downright awesome stage presence. The set break was quick and to the point and all of us bluegrass-loving, free-spirited, tie-die wearing Boulderites were ready to get our feet moving once again.
With my feet aching to dance, fresh vodka-tonic in hand and the sweet smell of some good ole Boulder cheba wafting through the theater, set three began with a BANG! "Zombie Jamboree" is one of my favorite Salmon tunes and a perfect fit to open up a closing set. The band seemed to be in perfect harmony and the addition of Andy Hall was coming into full fruition. Momentum was building, anticipation growing and audience jaws were dropping with every pluck of the multitude of string instruments on stage. We were lucky enough to have Mr. Emmitt step up to the microphone for his turn on lead vocals after the jamboree ended and "Here Comes The Night" came roaring through the theater speakers. Drew decided to grace us with the presence of his outstanding electric guitar playing and his silky smooth voice fit perfectly over the intensely loud shred-fest. After a standing ovation for Drew’s guitar playing he quickly picked up his fiddle and led the Salmon boys through "Tu Nas Pas Aller." What versatility this man possesses! Whether it is the mandolin, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, fiddle, or his beautiful voice, Drew Emmitt is an amazing musician and one of the more talented I have been able to see firsthand. The presence of Andy Hall and Drew’s best buddy and band mate, Billy Nershi (Emmitt-Nershi Band) only exemplified his mastering of all musical attributes and by looking at all of the faces on stage “musical perfection” couldn’t have been any closer.
What I witnessed from Leftover Salmon at the Boulder Theater warmed my heart and soothed my soul as they brought it on all levels. I honestly could not have asked for a better way to spend the Thanksgiving weekend and I only can hope that my above mention of “annual” truly takes form. Because if it does we Boulderites are extremely lucky due to the great phamily/friends, the Boulder Theater and the best Thanksgiving Cocktail one could ever ask for being included in the package. I simply cannot wait for my next Salmon show, but for now I am going to go dig into some leftovers. FESTIVALLLL!