Tallgrass with Mitchell Evan & The Mangrove and Clyde McGee 10.16.15


Downtown Artery
Fort Collins, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)


The newly revitalized Downtown Artery sits on the corner of Linden and Jefferson Street. This building was the former home of the Colorado Drum and Percussion, but now it is a permanent oasis of culture and creation in Old Town. Upon entering you can see a gallery on your left as a disengaged, yet incredibly hip, doorman takes your five dollars. There is ample seating in the bar area which features a modest menu, a clean kitchen and an actual bar with several local craft beers on draught and an array of bottles, as well, it flanked a coffee bar closer to the door. Venture deeper, the actual venue featured great sound and a nicely raised stage giving everyone a solid view of the action. Overall they did a pretty stellar job with the construction of the facility, which also houses a bed and breakfast and additional studio space. On this particular night the multi-use space was host to a full bill of music headlined by local favorites Tallgrass.

The night began with Grand Junctions’ native son Clyde McGee. He is a member of the The Milltailers, but on this night he was striking out on his own. He had the feel of an elevated street musician, finally coming indoors. His humble nature mixed well with his unassuming music. He started on an old beat up guitar, then transitioned to an equally distressed banjo about halfway through his set. He performed a snappy rendition of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Pour It On, Dock,” which he kept time on with his kick peddle and his foot powered tambourine. He was like a young Pete Seeger just starting out on the road. Safe travels Clyde.

Mr. McGee was followed by young Boulder upstarts Mitchell Evan and The Mangrove. This band focuses on a heavier brand of folk with tinges of Indie, Rock, Funk, and Blues. This power trio has a unique sound anchored by the syncopated percussion of Zedekiah Mills. Their set last just about an hour and peaked with their original track “Higher Ground.” Their sound is eclectic to say the least, but this three piece has found a firm footing in harmonizing and intricate songwriting. Keep your eyes peeled for this band; they’ll be coming to your hometown soon.

As the clock-neared midnight Tallgrass took the stage. It was an interesting night with friends and family of the band represented well in the audience. Tallgrass continues to be a masterful yet still somewhat undiscovered group here on The Front Range. The soulful vocals of Matt Skinner juxtapose beautifully with their ruggedly authentic sound. Brothers Adam and Austin Morford make up the rhythm section for this power trio. Their style could easily be oversimplified as Soul Grass, but truly they pull everything from World to Funk into their mix. They opened up with their now classic homage to slothfulness “Never Try.” Skinner stashed his guitar and pulled out his more familiar banjo, which is so intrinsic to their style. Ironically, there was a full piano behind Adam who took the opportunity to bang the keys a bit during his percussion solos. He is a classically trained pianist, but used it more as another drum on his kit. The story of their exodus from Iowa City was told early in their set with the lyrics of “Old Town.” This was another highlight of their two hour set. Later they set the room ablaze with a jawdroppingly good rendition of “Rocking Chair," from their first album God, Sin, Whiskey, and Women. Tallgrass put on a stellar show in this newly imagined space. The Artery seems to have something to offer everyone, and they certainly know how to put on a show. I’m curious to watch the community that will grow up around this place. And if you haven’t seen Tallgrass yet, they have an upcoming album and surely a tour will follow. Their music is unique and deserving of a wider audience.

Nick’s Photo Gallery

www.tallgrassband.com

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