Kitchen Dwellers & House With A Yard 10.12.19

Hodi's Half Note
Fort Collins, CO

Words & photos by Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)

The music scene is constantly awash with opinions and conjecture about the next “big thing.” Hype is marketing and marketing is money and bands need that sort of thing to be well you know… a band. We’ve all entrenched ourselves in a world where FOMO is not just a game plan it’s a lifestyle. Yet throughout all the murkiness of social media and online fluffery true artists do emerge from time to time. This year alone we’ve seen several standout performers finally getting the accolades they deserve. Billy Strings comes to mind; another is The Kitchen Dwellers. These boys from Montana have been slogging their way through the national bluegrass circuit for the last decade or so with a relentless touring schedule and a true desire to spread their music far and wide. That music takes a jam mentality and smashes it up against bluegrass traditionalism. The result is something truly unique and utterly intriguing.

We arrived at Hodi’s to see the line slipping out the front door and onto the sidewalk. It’s obvious that the college kids are back in town, but beyond that there was a palpable energy and excitement bouncing around the bar. The floor was full of eager fans ready to rock and or roll. I met a Denver kid who was doing the entire run and proudly announced this was his 46th Dwellers show. I was impressed to say the least. Those kind of numbers are hard to attain. Bully.

House With A Yard has been on my radar for quite some time, but I’ve not had the chance to see them live. Davey Wallace hails from Sunbury, Pennsylvania where he honed his skills as a singer/songwriter eventually venturing out west. Once in Fort Collins he assembled a solid band and got to work. This jam grass sextet features local legend Josh Vogeler on drums, Casey Lee on fiddle, Sean Fazzini on mandolin, Dana Giove on bass, and Tyler Rennix on guitar. They opened with the self-reflective “Half Glass Full” before launching off with the barnburner “Love, Like.” The instrumental “Oyster Mountain Breakdown” included some hot potato picking with Fazzini stealing the spotlight. HWAY played “Hibernation” off the new LP Carousel released in May, showcasing both their instrumental and vocal interplay. They wrapped their hour long set with the earthy original “Sunshine In A Can.” It’s safe to say they are a strong addition to Fort Collins music scene. I look forward to seeing what comes next for this young, but very talented band.

The Kitchen Dwellers have quickly become a fan favorite around the bluegrass scene. Hailing from Montana, the band started as a “series of jams in the kitchen.” Since their nascent beginnings around the stove they’ve played from Red Rocks to Burlington and everywhere in between. The result is a sound they call “Galaxy Grass” and the draw is obvious. They opened with a haunting “Five Candles” that featured a noticeable Paul Simon tease. The band rarely took a break as they plowed through heavy hitters like “Timebomb” and “Drunk Poets.” We were treated to a number of tunes off the new album Muir Maid including the title track. They are set to release on November 8th, and the record was produced by Infamous Stringduster Chris Pandolfi. After a nice sampling of their original catalog they went into the bluegrass traditional “Big Spike Hammer." They continued with the Irish folk song made popular by Tony Rice, “Red Haired Boy.” They jammed on the Violent Femme’s “Blister in The Sun” during “New Man” before they closed the first set with “Guilty.” The Kitchen Dwellers were incredibly connected to the audience giving the entire experience a hometown vibe.

They returned with their first single off Muir Maid, “Covered Bridges.” The second set was more exploratory, but they rarely stopped to breath between songs. “This Time” was an early highlight before they showed off their jam mentality during a beautifully built rendition of Phish’s “Piper.” The boys went gospel with “Jesus On The Mainline” and kept the ball rolling with a tight “Gypsy.” The spacey love tune “Visions Of More” was busted in half when the band went into an unexpected version of No Doubt’s “Spiderwebs.” They returned to “Visions” to wrap up the jam-packed second set.

The Kitchen Dwellers took part in a tribute show following the passing of Jeff Austin at The Boulder Theater. They returned to Jeff’s handbook with a version of the Rolling Stones’ “No Expectations.” This song was known as a vehicle for some of Jeff’s most transcendent mandolin solos. The boys did it justice before calling it a night and disappearing backstage.

The Kitchen Dwellers are a band on the rise and the time to catch them live is now. It won’t be long before they are headlining sold out shows and crushing the competition. They have everything they need, all that’s left to do is spread the word.

House With A Yard Set One: Half Glass Full > Love, Like, Exits, Oyster Mountain Breakdown > Sittin’ On A Busted Chair, Man Of Philosophy, Hibernation > Hummingbird, Sunshine In A Can

Kitchen Dwellers Set One: Five Candles (1) > Timebomb > Five Candles > Drunken Poets Dream, Muir Maid > Big Spike Hammer, Red Haired Boy > New Man (2), Driftwood > Guilty

Kitchen Dwellers Set Two: Covered Bridges > Farmers, This Time > Quail > Piper > This Time, Shadows > Jesus On The Mainline, Gypsy, Visions Of More > Spiderwebs (3)(4)> Visions of More (5)

Encore: No Expectations

(1) You Can Call Me Al tease
(2) Blister in The Sun tease
(3) by No Doubt, first time played
(4) Carini Teases
(5) Freeker by the Speaker tease


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