Magic Beans 1.4.14
Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel (Opti Mystic Outlooks)
While a cold winter's night kept Colfax low key, the Nederland-based Magic Beans played their first headlining show at the Bluebird, and pulled an impressive crowd for their debut at the Denver theater. My only prior Bean experience was this past summer at State Bridge, and they were playing an acoustic set, billed as the Magic (String) Beans. I remember really enjoying that set, and I was excited to see the electric version of the band.
Before the show, i had the chance the ask a few questions of the band behind the beanstalk. I wondered what significance the band name had to them, and if anyone was a particularly big fan of the Jack and the Beanstalk story. Scott Hachey (guitar) offered, "It's a great story, but I wouldn't say anyone had any more of an affinity for this story than say "Harold and the Purple Crayon" or "Good Night Moon"...Hendrix always said 'Music is magic, and magic is life'…. it's actually written on the wall in Cervantes Masterpiece greenroom haha. But I truly believe that music and nature are the closest things to magic in the world so we wanted to include that word. Magic Beans gives off a natural vibe and relates to folklore, tall tales, and what not; which lots of our lyrics can resemble. The band name isn't really what's important though, we speak through our music."
At the Bluebird, I got a taste of that. While I wasn't completely sold on the vocals throughout the show, I was impressed with their improvisational abilities. When they took songs for a drive, I felt like I got to take in some scenery. Stylistically I really enjoyed the ground they covered, which made sense since I'm also a fan of their influences, "Floyd, Zep, Dead, Phish are tremendous influences on us. To get specific we dig new grass music like Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident, Sam Bush; we like contemporary funk like Lettuce, Soulive, Snarky Puppy. We dig some downtempo and well produced electronica. Classic rock is a big one, Iron Maiden, El Ten Eleven, Tipper, Greensky, Keller, so much good music. We like it all and our sound tries to encompass a lot of different feels."
It was fun to see a band so excited to play music. Bass player Josh Appelbaum's enthusiasm was apparent by his face, but you didn't need to see him, you could hear it. Casey Russell's keys were really well balanced, and his use of different keyboard voicing and effects reminded me of SCI's Kyle Hollingsworth quite a bit. That also made sense, Casey recounted one of his most memorable shows was the torrentially wet Incident at Red Rocks last year. "Lots of energy."
The sound was enjoyable, and I found myself enamored once more by the allure of discovery. A major aspect that appealed to me was their drive. When I asked Hatchey what show of the Beans' was his favorite, he replied, "I think it just keeps getting better and better so I'm gonna say the next show is my best show ever, and favorite show ever, I hope." In a music world where I've often felt I've seen it all before, it's nice to discover a band that may have a brighter future than past.
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