Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ripple Field Trip: Blackfoot Gypsies @ Hat Trick's Sports Bar and Grill

There I was trolling facebook for noteworthy posts when eureka!  The Blackfoot Gypsies, a band I have loved since first discovering their music, were playing a show close to where I live.  Finally!  Work had sabotaged my two previous attempts at seeing the Gypsies when they rolled through town, but for this performance I was in the clear.  Huzzah!

I arrived at the venue early, paid my way past the doorman and immediately spotted Zack Murphy, the Gypsies' drummer standing in front of their merch table.  He was flanked by two men who I vaguely recognized from photos on the band's facebook page.  Breaking from my traditional concert behavior of shying away from those I'm there to see I walked right up, said hello, and identified myself as 'the guy who wrote that crazy review of your album for The Ripple Effect' or something to that effect.  The other two men turned out to be Ollie Dogg and Dylan Rowe, the band's harmonica and temporary bass player.  Matthew Paige, the group's vocalist/guitar player, appeared a few minutes later.  To put it mildly I enjoyed talking with all four of them.  They are very nice fellows.

When the time came the Gypsies took the stage and proceeded to lay down a wickedly good set.  They played selections from both of their terrific EPs as well as their stellar On The Loose full length album.  Not surprisingly all of the tunes sounded fantastic live!  If you are unfamiliar with the group I would describe their sound as Southern-fried garage rock.  To call it ear pleasing is a monumental understatement!

The biggest surprise of the night was how different the live renditions of songs were in comparison to what you hear on their records.  I honestly had trouble recognizing "Don't Know About You" until the first chorus kicked in.  "1776" was performed at a faster tempo and became quite a bit more aggressive, almost sinister.  The Gypsies' performance of the contemplative "Stone Throwin' Angels" took the opposite route, utilizing a slower tempo and becoming more delicate in nature.  The addition of bass and harmonica added a ton of warmth to "Rock It Up", and when the band locked into their groove "Coming Through The Pines" was nothing short of ferocious!  Much more so than on their self-titled EP.

Special recognition must also go to Matthew Paige's vocals.  I love what he sounds like on record, but he truly impressed me with how much variation he threw into his live performance.  After the show he informed me that he was diligently working to improve as a singer.  All I could say in response was mission accomplished!

Waveriders, do yourselves a favor.  If you discover that the Blackfoot Gypsies are playing within driving distance of wherever you happen to be, go.  That's right.  Go.  Enjoy some exceptional music and the good times it brings.

-- Penfold

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