Roosevelt Collier's "Colorado Get Down," Hot Buttered Rum & Dead Winter Carpenters 6.12.15

Mishawaka Amphitheatre
Bellvue, CO

Words By J. Picard
Photos By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)

Upon the confirmation and announce of Roosevelt Collier's "Colorado Get Down" and Hot Buttered Rum at Mishawaka, there was a certain expectation of how the day would play out, including imagery of dancing alongside the Poudre River under the stars. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had different plans, including rain and flooding the month leading up to the show. The day prior to the event our camp received an e-mail suggesting the possibility of moving the show inside. That night following delay after delay, I picked up Roosevelt from the airport and headed to The Bluebird Theater in Denver with my fiance, Carly, for a very special private album release for Keller Williams presented by O.pen Vape and featuring The Drunken Hearts. With the assistance of the ever-so-wonderful Kevin Anderson, we loaded in the gear and enjoyed a few songs from Andrew McConathy and company, who sounded fantastic. Towards the end of the set they called up Roosevelt, who had my lap steel in tow for a ripping jam. The band asked him to remain for the final song of the set where they were also joined by Keller. The result was weird. From The Bluebird we headed home only to awake and immediately start prepping, packing and watching the weather, which seemed to have cleared up. Regardless, around 1:30 PM we received the e-mail informing us the show would be moved indoors. As we drove up the canyon from Fort Collins, we wondered what the night would have in store for us.

Coming up the Poudre Canyon, the sun shined brightly through the trees and around every bend a more beautiful scene unfolded from the previous. We made a brief stop for Rosie to get a picture in front of a sign that read "Roosevelt National Forrest," before continuing on to The Mish. What greeted us was one of the most beautiful venues in the country. An incredible Colorado bluebird sky collided with sheer rock formations covered with pines, many burnt from a large fire a couple of years back, but in no way lacking in beauty. We loaded into the "Spokes Buzz Lounge" from the back side of the stage. As Rosie set up his pedal steel, I headed across the spacious main venue where I found the Poudre River at the highest level that I had seen. The water rushed by in shades of brown and white headed for lower ground down the canyon. Inside the greenroom I found Joey Porter and Garrett Sayers, as well as members of Hot Buttered Rum. A short time later Dave Watts arrived with Andy Thorn.

The band ran through a short soundcheck before Garrett and Joey departed for Fort Collins and Dave and Andy headed off for a hike, leaving Roosevelt, who was feeling under the weather, to recover prior to go time. As there was no cell or internet service at The Mish, I used the time to breathe, exhaling large amounts of CO2 and stress. At one point, I saw a family of deer, feeding on the lush green foliage on the other side of the river. I smiled and leaned back, staring straight at a sky littered with hummingbirds zipping in every direction. It was in that moment that I realized how truly lucky we were to be in such a special place. The frustration of the show being moved indoors on such a perfect day, started to wain. It also helped that Carly and I decided to head to the deck to dine at the venue's restaurant. As we did a group of kayakers floated by spinning in circles and flipping upside down as if to be performing stunts or mocking the powerful river.

The sun began to set triggering shades of orange, yellow, pink and eventually purple and the darkest of blues. The Mish was illuminated and felt like a biker bar on a lonesome highway, however in reality, there was nothing lonesome about it. Folks were filling in at a decent pace as Dead Winter Carpenters took the stage. At one point, early in the evening, the flow of incoming people came to a complete halt. It wasn't until a little bit later upon Joey and Garrett's arrival back at the venue that the news was communicated to me. Apparently, there had been an accident and authorities closed down the canyon for a potential helicopter rescue. Joey and Garrett were forced to take the long way around, instead coming down to The Mish instead of up. By that time Hot Buttered Rum had hit the stage to a packed room, though no more folks would be joining us for the evening.

The band was tight and output an energetic and fun sound. Folks danced along, many singing a lot of the band's catalog as they played. Outside airplanes and satellites passed by at high altitudes, further dwarfed by the occasional shooting star. As Hot Buttered Rum rounded out there set, they performed a crowd favorite, "3.2!" Sweaty fans poured out of the venue upon the conclusion of HBR's set to smoke, enjoy the evening's air and stretch for the closing set. I gathered the troops and we made our way from the greenroom to the stage. The Spokes Buzz lounge was packed and the crowd was ready for a Get Down!

Dave's drums hit at a consistent beat as the band geared up and Roosevelt jumped in on the pedal steel. Garrett, Joey and Andy follow and we were off to the races. Fans jumped in the air and waived their arms about wildly as Roosevelt dug into the slide and Andy shredded on the banjo. There were times when Andy went so high on the neck of the electric banjo that I thought he would run out of possible frets for notes. A couple of times during the set Andy featured Mark Vann's old banjo "Stump," which had an incredibly bright tone. Across the stage Joey took the intimate crowd to church initially, then dropped the funk on them, creating a sweaty dance party further fueled by the large disco ball that came to life at the front of the stage. Smiles covered the stage from the band to the crowd as Garrett dropped into one of his signature solos. The people who had seen it before smiled and danced; those who had not were stopped dead in their tracks.

Of the ten plus shows that I have seen this project perform, that night was one of my absolute favorites. The material ranged from Hendrix to Michael Jackson and back and featured ripping solos that had me yelling "come on!" Upon the evening's conclusion folks poured out of the venue and down the canyon, satisfied with the intimate show. What could have been a bad situation, whether the show was cancelled or even fewer folks made it up the canyon, turned out to be a magical night at Mishawaka in the packed lounge. It was a night that I will not soon forget. We loaded out the gear, thanked the staff and headed back down to Denver for the following day's LOHI Music Festival!

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