Whenever venturing out to partake in an evening/day of live music it most likely will go one of two ways. One, is a band that thrives on stage seizing the moment to give concert goers a show they won’t forget while the other is a band that gives the same formulaic unemotional show night after night. Then there is what took place this past Friday night at Smith’s Olde Bar when the Blackfoot Gypsies and the Yawpers shared the stage.
As the curtains peeled back and the booming percussion from the fez wearing Zack Murphy assaulted the crowded room at Smith’s Olde Bar Matthew Paige shimmied around the semi-circle stage as if he were possessed by Mick Jagger and or Chuck Berry. Engaging in continuous movement as if his life depended on it, Paige bantered with the crowd wailing on songs like “Gimmie Some,” Snake Charmer” and “Pork Rind” all while delivering thick fuzz flavored guitar licks. Dylan Whitlow keep things in line with his steady bass playing and impeccable backing vocals while Ollie Dogg’s bad ass harmonica gave the band’s garage rock sound that added boost of soul. As the late night rolled into early morning the Blackfoot Gypsies showed no signs of stopping, getting stronger the deeper into the set they traveled. Songs evolved into extended jams as Ollie, Matthew and Dylan bounded around the stage not once running into or interfering with the others. With no end in sight the diverse crowd embraced the band’s blues infused sound with copious amounts of head banging, ass shaking, air guitar playing and singing-a-long with every word. At the forefront of the raucous crowd was Yawpers front man Nate Cook possessing enough unbridled energy to power a small town. The folks jamming with him at the front of the stage continued to grow until the end of the show. Finally, the Blackfoot Gypsies called it a night, something no one wanted to see happen but when they left the stage the folks at Smith’s Olde Bar were fully satisfied yet ready for more.
Before the Blackfoot Gypsies brought the house down the Yawpers did some serious damage to the foundation. The Denver, Co, trio create an amazingly huge sound with a couple of acoustic guitars and a drum kit. The band’s set was an example in controlled chaos as they rolled through songs from their latest record American Man. While Noah Shomberg beat the hell out of his drums and the laid back Jesse Parmet coaxed some nasty blues riffs out of his guitar Nate Cook was a man possessed. From start to finish he scrambled around the stage with endless stamina much like a 4th grader that has downed a few dozen pixie sticks chasing them with a red bull. He chastised a group of texting ladies sending them scurrying to the darker recesses of the room and let folks know he was not happy with their incessant chit chat. The rowdier Cook became the more the crowd ate it up. He wailed into the mic like a mad man as he voraciously punished his guitar giving the crowd everything they didn’t know they wanted. The Yawpers were born to play in front of a live crowd and the “yin & yang” relationship between the wild Cook and the calm Parmet is what keeps things from spiraling out of control. Towards the end of the set they brought Atlanta guitarist Rod Hamdallah up on stage for a song and his raw guitar skills were a nice addition to an already killer set of tunes. As good as their set was it eventually had to end and when the fuzz of the amps faded the Yawpers left the stage covered in spilled drinks, sweat and possibly a little blood but that is what they do.
If you want to experience music rather than just listen to it, then make sure you attend a show by either of these bands. The Blackfoot Gypsies and the Yawpers play music with a passion like few others. When the lights turn on it is all about the music and both bands put everything they have into each song they perform. Friday night was one of the best damn shows I have ever seen all thanks to a couple of up and coming bands that get it. Well written songs, well played music and a devotion to your craft go a lot longer than a flashy image.