Trouble No More & Daniel Donato's Cosmic Country 1.7.23

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Denver, CO Words by J. Picard
Photos by Pete Escobar It was Saturday night in Denver, CO and leading into the evening there was a palpable vibe across social media platforms and among the music community surrounding a mixed group of players that would be honoring the music of the omnipotent Allman Brothers Band. The epicenter of the gathering, as has been the case for twenty years across a wide range of genres and events, was Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom. My wife and I haven’t been to Cervantes in a few years, as has been the case with many spaces coming off of a strange time of existence. As the car passed the Denver Zoo illuminated for their holiday lights events, a feeling of excitement overtook me. It felt good to be headed back to a place where we had spent so many magical nights over the course of the past twelve years that I have been in this town.
Navigating the icy streets on foot over the course of a couple of blocks we arrived at the staple venue. Bright white Christmas lights adorned the trees out front of the box office entrance casting a warm glow onto the street. The friendly staff sorted our passes and we headed through the grandiose front door of the ballroom. I was taken aback by the metal detectors and solid staffing of security, but I understood the need given the times. Security was friendly and the whole process was quick. Entering the two story nine hundred plus capacity room we were both a little surprised at how well attended the show was at that point of the evening for opening act Daniel Donato's Cosmic Country.
We sauntered up to the bar where all the way down the line familiar faces served spirits to an array of people from the stoned older hippies to the young wide eyed wooks. I presume I fall somewhere in between, likely closer to the stoned old hippie. Diana Azab (Partner, Marketing, Bartender) danced over, welcomed us warmly and poured my wife Carly a beer and myself a double Jack and Coke. The evening was off to a wonderful start! We caught the last few songs of Daniel Donato’s set, one of which was Phish’s “Back On The Train,” which fired up the easy Colorado crowd. Daniel’s band was tight and his playing was exceptional! Luckily we would see more of Daniel with Trouble No More. To preface my excitement; The Allman Brothers Band is my favorite band of all time. My father before me loved the Brothers Allman. I was raised on their music and as I got older used to see them annually at Pine Knob in Clarkston, MI. Eventually I hit the road in a motorhome with friends of mine to attend ABB’s annual festival, Wanee, at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL. I consider those years and that music to be some of the most formative of my life. The music resonates deeply with me and from the videos that I had seen of Trouble No More, I was heavily anticipating their set. The venue was approaching capacity, side stage was packed and a flashlight lit up to show a path from the green room to the stage. They took the stage to a raucous reception and began with their namesake “Trouble No More.” I’ve seen the music of the ABB covered before. I’ve seen it done well, but not this well. What was immediately noticeable was the feel of the music, the openness of the space and the absolute heights at which the band used to take it to from the opening bars. “Ain’t Wasting Time No More” followed with Lamar Williams Jr’s voice sounding similar on the opening songs of the evening to that of Gregg Allman’s. Peter Levin’s playing on the keys was strong and so fitting to the music. “Les Brers” peaked with Brandon “Taz” Niederauer on guitar and his brother Dylan Niederauer on bass squaring off and elevating the already elevated jams.
Then entered Roosevelt Collier with the touch of an angel on steel. The exchanges between Rosie, Taz and Daniel on the other side of the stage felt powerful and honored the vibe unlike any tribute to the Allman Brothers that I have witnessed. It was if time had elapsed and the sounds of ABB generations past manifested. Roosevelt sounded like Duane Allman, Daniel sounded like Dickey Betts and Taz had a progressive Warren Haynes vibe.
The set continued with “Don’t Want You No More” > “Cross To Bear” which was the perfect leveling out prior to compositionally building back up. I returned to the bar and got another double Jack and Coke from Diana who was still dancing and having a great time! Returning to the front I caught the end of “Blue Sky” and the beginning of “One Way Out!” At some point Joe Marcinek’s band who was playing at another venue in town that evening arrived and included Jason Hann (The String Cheese Incident) and  Dave Watts (The Motet). Also present was Andy Frasco and Jeremy Salken (Big Gigantic). It was great to see so many musicians from the community present for the show! “Stand Back,” was strong and was followed by “Midnight Rider,” which got the crowd singing along excitedly, myself included. I returned once more to the bar and when I got back up front Carly said, “You just missed Rosie! He came down, gave me a hug and was looking for you. He’s wearing a MusicMarauders shirt!” I smiled. It was a sweet moment from a thoughtful friend. At some point Adam Deitch (Lettuce) joined powerhouse Nikki Glaspie for the remainder of the show adding the multi drummer vibe reminiscent of the ABB. “Elizabeth Reed” soared, further displaying the raw chemistry of the players on stage and “Don’t Keep Me Wondering” closed the incredible set. They returned to stage for “Hot Lanta” > “Whipping Post” which was an all out assault of deep jams and ripping guitar work that reflected more than a knowledge of just the music, but an understanding of the feel of the music down to its roots and oddly enough, maybe its future. After the show we joined Rosie in the green room where we saw a bunch of familiar faces and met some new folks. It felt good to be back at Cervantes, celebrating their 20th anniversary and enjoying the music of a band that I cherished deeply. It was a very special night! The following night we met Roosevelt down at the Thirsty Lion at Union Station where we laughed and reminisced about old times… Pete's Full Photo Gallery
Setlist: Trouble No More, Ain’t Wasting Time No More, Les Brers, Don’t Want You No More > Cross to Bear, Blue Sky, One Way Out, Stand Back, Midnight Rider, Elizabeth Reed, Don’t Keep Me Wondering Encore: Hot Lanta > Whipping Post


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