Terrific Blitzen Trapper show tonight in Los Angeles. The feel of the concert was different than their Troubadour show last October. Whereas that concert was loose, and filled with lots of improvization and extended jams, tonight's show was more tight, and solid, and very, very strong.
The Teragram Ballroom was a great venue to see the band, is it's both small, and no-fuss, with excellent sound, and good, inexpensive parking right across the street. The crowd was a healthy mixture of young college kids and middle aged men and women.
Trapper were in excellent form tonight. I sadly was not able to hear Erik Menteer's Gibson Les Paul guitar too much tonight from where I was standing out front, however I heard Eric Earley loud and clear.
Earley was on fire tonight, with his vocals as strong as they've ever been, and his guitar playing was both effortless and awe-inspiring. With his Gibson SG in tow, Eric Earley truly owned the night.
What also was great is that new songs from their latest "All Across This Land" all sounded fantastic live. I was especially pumped that the band played my two favorite songs from the album: "Let The Cards Fall" and the beautifully harmonic "Even If You Don't."
Another joy tonight was seeing/hearing "Astronaut" performed live, and the band really rocked it, emphaisizing those soulful harmonies (during the 2nd half of the song) to the fullest extent.
"Thirsty Man" was not the epic they perofmed last year at the Troubadour, but still very good. This time around they merged the groove right into a very faithful and very complete cover of the Beatles' "Come Together"...and Eric Earley's playing on the song was remarkable. He was able to mix the distinct guitar licks and tone in the song with his own embelishments that enhanced the sound even more.
"All Across This Land" was very powerful live, and a great song to end the main set with a bang. For the encore, Eric, Brian and Marty came out alone to perform Townes Van Zandt's "If Needed You" with equisite three-part harmony.
This soon went right into "Even If You Don't" (my fave) which sounded just as gorgeous as it does on record, then right into crowd-pleasing singalong "Furr"
With "You Never Give Me Your Money" BT was back to the Beatles once more with a very faithful cover of the classic Abbey Road song. This one featured both Eric and Brian trading off on lead vocals.
The final song was a surprise to me, as I never thought I'd ever Blitzen Trapper play it. In fact I was so unprepared for the song that at first I thought the band was playing "Thirsty Man" again. Then soon I realized, Blitzen Trapper were rocking out to "Shine On"! I had a big smile on my face the whole time, and was excited when the chorus came in. Instead of the female backing vocals on the original recording, Marty, Erik and the crowd (at least I THINK it was the crowd) sang out "SHINE ON!" with raised hands and joy.
It was indee a joyous evening at the Teragram Ballroom. I sang along to just about every song with great enthusiasm. After the concert, I was complimented by some college kids. They saw how much I was enjoying the show, and how much I sang along to all the songs (except the Townes Van Zandt one). "You really were rocking out" they said to me. "You really must like them." Indeed I do. Thanks Blitzen Trapper for a fun, inspiring, and very satistying evening.