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Concert Review: Trampled By Turtles and The Devil Makes Three

When Trampled By Turtles last visited St. Louis, playing the main stage at LouFest 2013, I noted that I appreciated the fact that they stood in a row on stage, rather than in a cluster with one member taking the status of frontman.

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Perhaps I shouldn’t start this review with the same sentiment, but the stage arrangement was even more powerful in a smaller, club venue. Stretching the length of the Pageant’s elevated stage, the band’s five members stood side by side like a police lineup folk musicians, from the short and slim (vocalist Dave Simonett) to the tall and less-slim (fiddler Ryan Young).

The night’s two openers were The Lowest Pair and Charlie Parr, two folk duo’s in different capacities. The Lowest Pair played quirky, old-time roots music on banjos and looked like they could have been busking on the streets of Nashville or New Orleans. Charlie Parr, also from Trampled By Turtle’s hometown of Duluth, Minnesota, has a grizzled face and sat knees tucked up as he plucked a National resonator guitar. Parr’s Facebook explains that he “dropped out of high school in the 1980s, but he looks older than that,” and with a deadpan face and longish greying hair and beard, it is true. On stage, he was joined by an equally deadpan washboard player, for a quick forty-five minutes of upbeat roots music.

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Trampled By Turtle’s began their set slowly, with dim lights and a pair of low-tempo songs. One of those songs was “Repetition,” from the band’s new album “Wild Animals,” which sounds more like Band of Horses than the honky-tonk bluegrass Trampled By Turtles usually plays. While pleasant, as the song came to an end it was clear the crowd was ready for more banjo.

As the set picked up with older folk-pop songs like “Come Back Home” and “Codeine,” the vibrancy of the lights and on stage intensity did too. Behind the band were changing projections that resembled tie-dye, kaleidoscopes and dreamcatchers and the spotlights on the band’s five musketeers matched the backing color scheme. Songs like “Codeine” that showcase the Trampled By Turtles occasional Appalachian Mountain jug band sound featured alternating showcases of mandolin, fiddle and banjo, and with that, bouncing bright lights.

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A lot of Trampled By Turtles music features a similar song pattern, the set strayed from repetition with these climbing solos and variation between simplicity and lush, layered melodies. My favorite Trampled By Turtles song, and likely many other members of the nearly sold out crowd’s as well, is “Wait So Long,” an Appalachian stomper that woke up the crowd as the set neared its close.

Just prior, Simonett shared a story of a drunken fan climbing on stage at the band’s previous stop in Indiana, only to pull his drunken girlfriend on stage as well and then propose to her. The story came between a slow song and a quick one, and suggested that the slow are there to let you catch your breath, recover and then get ready to dance again. While a lot of “Wild Animals” evokes the more melodic, dreamier sounds, the upbeat jams likely bring fans in troves to Trampled By Turtles’ sets to dance, stomp and do wild things like drunkenly propose on stage.

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At the end of the set, Trampled By Turtles played their usual cover of the Pixies “Where Is My Mind,” as dark and wavering as the original but with a backing layer of fiddle vibrato and rich mandolin. Simonett’s voice is showcased, but so are the melodies of his four partners in crime. As the song and shortly after, the set came to a close the lights returned to the dark state the set started with and with a few final waves, the silhouettes of five musicians slid off stage.

Brian Benton
Brian is the founder and editor of Respect Your Youngers. He currently lives in New York City, and previously lived in St. Louis and San Francisco. He enjoys public transportation and coffee, and can be found online at brianfbenton.com

Concert Review: Trampled By Turtles and The Devil Makes Three

When Trampled By Turtles last visited St. Louis, playing the main stage at LouFest 2013, I noted that I appreciated the fact that they stood in a row on stage, rather than in a cluster with one member taking the status of frontman.

tumblr_niv7iab6CV1qf1k6ko1_1280

Perhaps I shouldn’t start this review with the same sentiment, but the stage arrangement was even more powerful in a smaller, club venue. Stretching the length of the Pageant’s elevated stage, the band’s five members stood side by side like a police lineup folk musicians, from the short and slim (vocalist Dave Simonett) to the tall and less-slim (fiddler Ryan Young).

The night’s two openers were The Lowest Pair and Charlie Parr, two folk duo’s in different capacities. The Lowest Pair played quirky, old-time roots music on banjos and looked like they could have been busking on the streets of Nashville or New Orleans. Charlie Parr, also from Trampled By Turtle’s hometown of Duluth, Minnesota, has a grizzled face and sat knees tucked up as he plucked a National resonator guitar. Parr’s Facebook explains that he “dropped out of high school in the 1980s, but he looks older than that,” and with a deadpan face and longish greying hair and beard, it is true. On stage, he was joined by an equally deadpan washboard player, for a quick forty-five minutes of upbeat roots music.

tumblr_niv7iab6CV1qf1k6ko4_1280

tumblr_niv7iab6CV1qf1k6ko3_1280

Trampled By Turtle’s began their set slowly, with dim lights and a pair of low-tempo songs. One of those songs was “Repetition,” from the band’s new album “Wild Animals,” which sounds more like Band of Horses than the honky-tonk bluegrass Trampled By Turtles usually plays. While pleasant, as the song came to an end it was clear the crowd was ready for more banjo.

As the set picked up with older folk-pop songs like “Come Back Home” and “Codeine,” the vibrancy of the lights and on stage intensity did too. Behind the band were changing projections that resembled tie-dye, kaleidoscopes and dreamcatchers and the spotlights on the band’s five musketeers matched the backing color scheme. Songs like “Codeine” that showcase the Trampled By Turtles occasional Appalachian Mountain jug band sound featured alternating showcases of mandolin, fiddle and banjo, and with that, bouncing bright lights.

tumblr_njubtqgKpS1qf1k6ko1_1280

A lot of Trampled By Turtles music features a similar song pattern, the set strayed from repetition with these climbing solos and variation between simplicity and lush, layered melodies. My favorite Trampled By Turtles song, and likely many other members of the nearly sold out crowd’s as well, is “Wait So Long,” an Appalachian stomper that woke up the crowd as the set neared its close.

Just prior, Simonett shared a story of a drunken fan climbing on stage at the band’s previous stop in Indiana, only to pull his drunken girlfriend on stage as well and then propose to her. The story came between a slow song and a quick one, and suggested that the slow are there to let you catch your breath, recover and then get ready to dance again. While a lot of “Wild Animals” evokes the more melodic, dreamier sounds, the upbeat jams likely bring fans in troves to Trampled By Turtles’ sets to dance, stomp and do wild things like drunkenly propose on stage.

tumblr_njubtqgKpS1qf1k6ko3_1280

At the end of the set, Trampled By Turtles played their usual cover of the Pixies “Where Is My Mind,” as dark and wavering as the original but with a backing layer of fiddle vibrato and rich mandolin. Simonett’s voice is showcased, but so are the melodies of his four partners in crime. As the song and shortly after, the set came to a close the lights returned to the dark state the set started with and with a few final waves, the silhouettes of five musicians slid off stage.

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