The Strumbellas and Dave Simonett and Dave Carroll of Trampled By Turtles at eTown Hall in Boulder, CO on 12/3/16.

Three guys all named Dave walk into a solar-powered converted church as a prize for a radio station contest.  It’s no joke. It’s the award for the KBCO’s Select A Set Weekend contest.  Listeners sent in songs with a common theme.  The participants whose sets were played over the airwaves in October won tickets to an intimate performance by The Strumbellas and Dave Simonett and Dave Carroll (from Trampled by Turtles).  It was a generous prize because The Strumbellas just played the 7,500 capacity 1st Bank Center the night before and Trampled by Turtles recently sold out the 10,000 capacity Red Rocks Amphitheatre.  The show took place at eTown Hall the solar-powered 200 seat refurbished former church (home of the eTown syndicated radio show).  I don’t want to brag, but KBCO chose my set.

The Strumbellas

The Strumbellas (inspired from the word umbrella) are a Toronto, Ontario band that formed in 2008 from a Craig’s List posting.  Their hit song Spirits has brought them mainstream success.  Singer Simon Ward led the joyful six piece band through sing-along songs with positive messages (their newest album is entitled Hope after all).  After performing the song Young and Wild about the feeling of youth, Ward joked that it was easy for them to play because they were all just nineteen-years-old after all.  After performing their latest single We Don’t Know, Ward surveyed the crowd for approval. An older gentleman in the front row named Gregory indicated it wasn’t his favorite.  Which is hard to believe because of the song’s infectious lyrics, “We don’t know if we’re lost, that we’ll find a way/We Don’t know if we leave, will we make it home/We don’t know, there’s hope, then we’ll be okay. ”  The man’s disapproval was mentioned throughout the rest of the evening as a reminder that someone in the adoring crowd wasn’t that impressed.  Ward thanked the gentleman for being the center of his self-deprecating humor at the end of the night.  Proving the stereotype true. Canadians are exceedingly nice.

Simon Ward and David Ritter

One of the most memorable moments was when the entire band walked away from their microphones and sat on the edge of the stage to sing Wild Sun.  Everyone in the band had a remarkable voice.  It wasn’t difficult to convince the audience to sing, clap, and stomp along.

David Ritter, a doppelgänger for Judah Friedlander (the guy from the 30 Rock television show with the baseball hat and big glasses), played keyboards, sang backing vocals, and performed interpretive dance moves.  There was a reason he was positioned front and center of the band.   Ritter stated that The Strumbellas were accustomed to playing bars and music festivals.  They were not used to the polite Boulder crowd.  Ritter pleaded with the audience to start talking on their cell phones and tossing beer bottles for a sense of normalcy.  Pointing to the DAVE printed on the front of his hat, Ritter expressed his outrage of not only having one Dave, but two Daves that are more talented and handsome than him open the show.

Dave Carroll and Dave Simonett

Those two Daves are from the alternative bluegrass band Trampled by Turtles from Duluth, Minnesota.  The band’s name derived from a brain storming session making sure they didn’t sound anything like bluegrass (mission accomplished). Lead singer and guitarist Dave Simonett told the crowd they were dressed in suits because thought it was a formal affair. Banjo player and backing vocalist Dave Carroll only spoke to the audience once during the set.  He thanked someone in the crowd that expressed his love for Carroll’s exceptional banjo playing.  One of the highlights was a song from Simonett’s new solo project Deadman Winter.  The singer told the crowd he would give it a B+ or maybe a C-.  Judging by the loud applause the crowd disagreed.

See you at the next show.  I’ll be the one not named Dave.

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