Frogs Gone Fishin' & The Drunken Hearts w/ Special Guests 12.28.12

Gothic Theatre
Englewood, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel

I entered the Gothic Theater on Broadway excited to kick off a weekend of tomfoolery. Local funk outfit, The Recovery Act, started things off and from the jump the energy was high. Lindsay French sang her heart out as her band executed a near flawless show. I have seen this band five times, and each time they've gotten tighter and more confident. They are beginning to flesh out their songs a bit more so that they have a little more improvisation. The instrumentalists were skilled at holding down the songs rhythmically, and capable of lighting up some solo work as well. With a singer like Lindsay, it's easy to let her talent eclipse the rest of the band, but each member of the band was capable of dropping jaws.

Next up was the She Said String Band. As the name hinted, the band was made up of four ladies singing and playing bluegrass in the traditional lineup of guitar, mandolin, banjo, and bass. They relied heavily on the upright bass for timing since they lacked drums, and their bassist delivered. On the whole, I thought the songs were presented in a very simple and traditional way. The solo work was not very flashy, but it was adequate. They covered "I Will Survive" and transitioned into "Eat My Dust," a well-written instrumental bluegrass song. That was when I started to get impressed. I believe that these ladies have the potential to be great entertainers, but they need to put a little bit of work into their solos and their improvisations in general.

The Drunken Hearts took the stage, and Andrew McConathy entertained us with a traditional sound of good vibe mountain music. McConathy has organized one of CO's finest music festivals, YarmonyGrass, and the band's sound seemed to mimic the vibe as I was reminded of several artists with Yarmony on their resumes. This show was billed as the String Cheese Incident New Year's Run Pre-Party, and the Cheese's own Jason Hann made an appearance on hand drums for a handful of tunes. He fell effortlessly into their arrangements like it was meant to be, and continued through the remainder of their set. By that point, I was primed for the three nights of String Cheese at Broomfield, and received word that all of our expected guests had arrived after each one faced delayed, rerouted, and cancelled flights.

Finally the pieces were all together, and Frogs Gone Fishing took the stage to close out a great warmup night. It was my first opportunity to see Frogs, and my expectations were wildly inaccurate. The name sounded like a bluegrass band to me, but when they built their groove from drummer to full band, I could tell I was dead wrong. They are more accurately described as a full-tilt, aggressive, funk band playing songs that sound like they could have been written for a metal band. From power chords to shred-fest, the band launched through high-powered, musical onslaughts as the "Horny Toads" accented many of the sections with staccato stabs from their sax and trombone. Really, the sound was too heavy to be funk, under-distorted to be metal, but had definitive elements of both. The band appears to enjoy themselves while performing, and at times had me floored with their musicianship. The night was a success, and I was happy to have been there.

In closing, athletes and musicians warm up before they perform. They stretch, they jog, they gradually get the muscles loosened up. Friday night at the Gothic was my warmup. I got in some concert calisthenics, some rage'roebics, and some party-o-vascular exercise and am nice and limber for the shows. It's nice to stretch out. Now put on those party pants, and let's get out there team!

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