Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blitzen Trapper & Loch Lomond @ Belly Up, 7.13.2009

Last night I ventured up to Belly Up Tavern with Jeff (whom you all should thank for the Monday through Thursday listings posted on this site week after week) to catch FM 94/9 recommended artist Blitzen Trapper. I've been a fan of the band since I saw them with Illinois (both opening for The Hold Steady) at Cane's a couple years back, and I've tried to catch all their San Diego shows since. They sold out their last Casbah show so it was nice to see them headline the Belly Up and do a pretty good job at filling the room (400-500 by Jeff's estimation).

What I didn't know going in was that I would absolutely fall in love with the opening band, Loch Lomond, also from Oregon. For the rest of the pics and show, click 'keep on reading'.

The band consisted of 6 members with some interesting touches, like the drummer playing while standing, a great violinist, some keys and xylophones (played traditionally as well as with a bow along the edge of the keys)and beautiful harmonies male/female harmonies. At times singing in a high falsetto, other times sounding a lot like Colin Meloy, I was definitely into the band from the first note.

Marty from Blitzen Trapper came out from the back and we chatted briefly about their tour and how great the openers were and he told me they were all buddies up in Portland and then he said "this is a great song", so I turned on the video.

Because there were only two bands, it allowed for long sets from both bands...over 45 minutes for LL and almost an hour and a half for BT. As Loch Lomond wrapped up their set, they introduced this song as "Ghost of An Earthworm" by saying that they wrote the song because everyone is making such a big deal about vampires lately, that earthworm ghosts don't get much attention. "And," he added, "I kinda look like a worm."

During the band transition, I held my spot up front while wondering why the Belly Up was playing instrumental reggae (or dub, as I was later corrected by Jake) for this show. Wrong music for this night, I'd say, but I guess the sound guys get their pick. I kinda like when bands bring a mix CD to play between bands, but no such luck this night. I got to talking to the guy next to me who had come down from O.C. to see them after seeing them open for Jenny Lewis & Ray LaMontagne at the Hollywood Bowl. In one of the videos you can hear him engaging with the band about it. He was cool enough and when some weirdo came up to the front for a couple songs, we had to laugh about his enthusiasm. ("C'mon people, clap already!!")

Blitzen Trapper played a long set with material mostly from Furr, but revisited some Wild Mountain Nation tunes, too. They had some great all out jamming songs with the full band and also played some quiet stuff, with just Eric singing a couple, then a couple backed vocally by Marty and Brian. It was a great set and I definitely left fulfilled. The band has some more U.S. dates, then a pretty heavy European tour, so they might not be back for a while, but you better believe I'll be there when they return.

No comments: