Cabinet 3.27.15

Lost Lake Lounge
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel (Optimystic Outlooks)

East Colfax's Lost Lake Lounge was a dismal bunker of Denver's musical landscape. Entering the lounge, I was immediately confronted with the worst layout I've ever seen. The bar arched widely into the floor space by the stage. Behind the bar was a wall obscuring the view of half the room. The result was about 80% unusable area in what may have been an ok space. The walls were a patchwork of drywall, poster board, wood, and trinkets. The vibe was of a rustic workspace housing a barn dance. Though the venue wasn't the classiest I'd seen, it did add an element of antiquity that seemed to work with Cabinet's old timey catalog.

With an advertised showtime of 12:30am, I wasn't alone in questioning the late start. Adding to the delay were sound issues, resulting in a rather short set for the $15.00 cover charge. Fortunately, Cabinet were professionals and delivered a set of high quality. Given the time and setting limitations, the Appalachian ensemble were quick to get into high gear and had the crowd stomping in a hot minute.

Anchored by Dylan Skursky and Jami Novak's rhythm section, the band took turns starting fires on their various instruments. Guitarist Mickey Coviello laid down some impressive flat picking and JP Biondo gripped and ripped his mandolin with power and speed. Pappy's banjo sang melodic lines between blazing riffs, but fiddle playing Todd Kopec was simply playing out of his mind. He was passionate, vibrant, technical, versatile, and downright show-stealing. In a relatively short time, Cabinet had worked their way onto the list of my favorite bluegrass bands, and the Lost Lake Lounge was full of people who shared my enthusiasm for the Scranton Sextet.

With their characteristic traditional flavor, they sprinkled in a variety of covers, old songs, and new ones, all with their own brand of bluegrass. My favorites were "Heavy Rain," "Dove," and their cover of The Byrds' "Mr. Spaceman." Their chemistry was organic and they salvaged what was shaping up to be a disappointment through sheer talent and professionalism.

I hadn't seen Cabinet since their last journey to Colorado in 2012. I was sure that was due to their limited exposure in the Mile High. A young lady I talked to said that they reminded her of the early years of String Cheese Incident, and she was having a blast. She told me she hadn't even heard of them before a friend asked her to come out to the show. So, the word was spreading, which gave me hope that the next Cabinet-rado run might come sooner than later.

At 1:45 AM I attempted to buy a beer and was told it was "shots only," because of the time. At 1:50 AM, Pappy told the crowd they had a few more for us... Attempting to give us a little something extra. He was immediately amended by the staff telling him only one more. At 2:00 AM an employee came around to collect any unfinished beers and shoo us all out the door. We refused and volunteered to slam the beer before leaving (which he allowed). I left hoping the next time I saw Cabinet would be in a better setting, one in which the patrons weren't treated so poorly. Good thing those boys could play!

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