Old Shoe & Ethereal Groove Inc. 3.19.15



Hodi’s Half Note
Fort Collins, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)


Old Shoe is a ridiculously talented group hailing from the slowly thawing tundra of Chicago. They are a folk-focused jam band with an intrinsic love for the Grateful Dead. This group blends elements of acoustic, bluegrass, rock, jam, country and Americana. Much like the name Old Shoe insinuates, they create a very comfortable music that feels right at home from the first note. Old Shoe announced a four show run up the Front Range that included stops at the newly minted Owsley’s Golden Road in Boulder, Quixote’s, and Hodi’s Half Note. I caught their last night here in Fort Collins. When I arrived, I met a friend who inquired if the show had been cancelled due to the obvious lack of bodies inside of Hodi’s. The combination of poor promotion and the fact that it was Spring Break for CSU meant that the turnout was nonexistent. By the time Old Shoe took the stage, there were about 14 people in the room.

The night began with Ethereal Groove Inc., also known as EGi. This fellow Chicago outfit, although much younger than their counterparts, was a nice addition to the lineup. Perhaps because of the light turnout, they were given what seemed like a longer set; in the end, Old Shoe would play one extended set as well. By the time I arrived EGi. was already on their second song with no sign of slowing down. They focused on rhythmic jams that featured some stellar guitar work from both Noe Perez and Devon Bates. They created interesting musical textures that defied genre. Elements of everything from funk to metal seemed to dribble into their progressive-heavy sound. They were definitely worth the trip and I hope that despite the low audience numbers, EGi. returns to Colorado.

Old Shoe was unfazed by the lack of people. The band emerged from the darkness and proceeded to give us a huge set filled to the brim with classics and covers. They opened up with a beautiful original, “Welcome Home.”

Set One: Welcome Home, Oneida County, Freak Flag, Don't Do It, Beer, Mouth of the Lion, Atlantic City, Loco Motive, Dustbowl, Day Rains Night, They Love Each Other, Wouldstock, Could You Be Loved, Star, Terrapin Station

Encore: Ellsworth, Kush

The cowfunk tune “Oneida County” was intense, but the Dead’s “Freak Flag” was spiritual. Old Shoe has a real chemistry that is palpable to the audience. They know each other well from touring relentlessly for the last five years. The members of the group met in Chicago, but they are from every part of this expansive country. Keeping the cover train rolling, Old Shoe went into The Band’s “Don't Do It,” which featured some stellar harmonizing from the whole band. “Beer” is a bluesy, but poetic homage to one of my favorite pastimes. A twang-heavy “Mouth of the Lion” preceded Day’s emergence from behind the keys with his mandolin. He sang us an exceptionally heartfelt rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City.” Day would stay up front for a series of acoustic and jamgrass numbers including “Loco Motive” and “Dust Bowl.” “Day Rains Nights” got spacey and featured some of the most intricate jamming of the night. Returning to their roots, they went into The Grateful Dead’s “They Love Each Other.” Old Shoe continued with a classic “Wouldstock” before some sick reggae in the form of Marley’s “Could You Be Loved.” They ended the set with a picture perfect version of “Terrapin Station.” Old Shoe encored with Ellsworth into an appropriate “Kush.”

Many bands when faced with such a small audience would offer the bare minimum and get out as soon as possible. Old Shoe did the exact opposite. Even as the night wore on and people began to trickle out into the evening, the band continued to play well and with enthusiasm. It’s obvious they were a victim of poor timing and no publicity. However, a band of this caliber, which has traveled 900 miles to get here, should have had a few more fans in the room. Old Shoe could have pretended this was a practice session, but they gave us a show to remember. The next time Old Shoe passes through town go check them out. You won’t be disappointed and maybe they won’t be either.

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www.egimusic.com
www.old-shoe.com

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