Bob Schneider and Ryan Hamilton at the Bluebird Theater on 10/21/17

Bob Schneider and the band

Sing-alongs about tarantulas, a multi-instrumentalist robot dancer, and a silly rap song about pants created a party atmosphere at the sold out Bob Schneider show. Along with his talented band, Schneider sailed through American Roots, Latin, Rock, and Hip Hop genres. He sang a heartbreaking love song one minute and switched to a Mambo the next.

Bob Schneider – All photos by the
Rock and Roll Princess

Bob Schneider was born in Michigan, grew up in Germany, and became a musician in Austin, Texas.  He became the lead singer of The Ugly Americans in the early 1990’s. I saw his entertaining funk band perform at Herman’s Hideaway in Denver, Colorado when their song Vulcan Death Grip was being over played on the radio. They grew in popularity and opened for The Dave Mathews Band and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. After a few years, Bob Schneider started his solo career and grew a beard (not necessarily in that order). Schneider’s live performances have given him an extremely loyal fan base. If you see him live once, you will bring a friend or two with you the next time.

Saturday night Bob Schneider got the audience in a festive mood by singing I Went to a Party. The song name checks the famous guests in attendance including the cast of Pitch Perfect II and Morgan Freeman (to name only a few). Schneider confessed at the end of the song that he never met any of those people. The song was inspired by the time he encountered the actress who portrays Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials (she was strangely not mentioned in the song). Next he played the Mambo inspired Bombananza signaling keyboardist Oliver Steck dressed in coveralls and safety goggles to switch to the trumpet.

Oliver Steck

Steck stole the show throughout the evening. When the band started to play songs without keyboards, he danced like a robot. One of the silliest songs of the night (and the set list had plenty of them) was Pants. It was co-written with Schneider’s twelve year-old-son Luc. The rap describes all the activities everybody does while wearing pants singing, “I got my pants onI got my pants on. I got my pants on.” During the song, Oliver Steck used a plastic beer cup to put an echo effect on his back up vocals.  When Schneider played the emotional ballad King Kong, Oliver Steck stood like a statue by his keyboard. A loud drunk woman with an ashtray voice disturbed the crowd, but Steck never moved an inch. During the audience participation song Tarantula (I think the song is more about sex than an eight-legged creature), Oliver Steck once again picked up the trumpet.  Steck persuaded the opener Ryan Hamilton to blow in the trumpet while he worked the valves. Bob Schneider ended the night with a lengthy description of a moonbeam as an introduction to 40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet) -“Sometimes you remind me of a moonbeam/Or the ghost of a moonbeam out on the beach/Down by the coast slipping’ through the air like/The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” During the song, Steck played the keyboard like a robot and sang back up without the plastic cup.

Ryan Hamilton and his cousin Hunter

The opener Ryan Hamilton’s band The Traitors had immigration issues preventing them from leaving the United Kingdom for the tour. Since they were stuck across the pond, Hamilton recruited his cousin Hunter Cannon to play the drums. Hamilton wore bellbottom jeans, a Keith Richardson t-shirt, and showed off a Bob Dylan tattoo that his wife thinks looks more like Michael Cera (the guy from the movie Juno). Although his cleverly worded songs were hard to hear due to sound issues, Hamilton played a heartfelt set of alternative rock goodness. There were no noise troubles during his cover of Tom Petty’s Listen to Her Heart. Since Hamilton mentions Petty in a few of his songs, the tribute to the recently departed artist was truly genuine.  Hamilton ended with Smarter. It will be the first single off his new album The Devil’s in the Details. He told the crowd, “When you hear the song on the radio, you will remember it was that guy with no band.”

See you at the next show.  I’ll be the one wearing coveralls with safety goggles hanging out with cousin Hunter.

Michael Franti & Spearhead, G. Love with The North Mississippi AllStars, and Wildermiss at Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton, CO on 10/8/17

Michael Franti & Spearhead

Michael Franti & Spearhead, G. Love, The North Mississippi AllStars, and Wildermiss held a hurricane relief concert for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The bands delivered a much-needed musical reprieve from the news of shootings, politics, and natural disasters. It was a celebration of life and a perfect way to end summer.

Michael Franti – All photos by
The Rock and Roll Princess

Breckenridge Brewery played disco music to warm up the audience for Michael Franti & Spearhead. The sold out crowd started dancing and indulging in the brewery’s offerings. The barefoot musical giant (he’s 6 feet 6 inches) continued the celebration singing about inspiration, love, and tequila. During the span of the concert, Franti had the crowd put their arms around each other, Do Si Do, and jump (lots of jumping) in a party version of Simon Says. Beach balls were tossed around during Summertime is in My Hands as the sun beat down upon the masses. There was a runway leading to a smaller stage in the middle of the venue. Franti used it to break through the crowd while high-fiving everyone nearby. When he got to the second stage, Franti pulled up fans to dance with him. A woman celebrating her fiftieth birthday enjoyed the experience a little too much and kissed him directly on the lips. Before Franti left the secondary stage, he sang My Lord – “My Lord, my Lord, My Lord/Show me all the things I need to know/My Lord, my Lord, My Lord/Take me to the place I need to go.” He instructed the crowd to jump up and down once again as he made his way back to the main stage.

Michael Franti

With a message of peace and positivity, Michael Franti expressed “It’s the little things that count. That extra smile, the extra hug, that extra song you sing to somebody…. These things count more than ever. These days when things are so hard for so many people, it means more and more each day that each of us take the time to go out of (our) way to make somebody else feel significant (for) just a little bit.” That’s when he went out into the crowd to perform We Are All Earthlings and instructed the crowd to take off their hats and wave them around during the crescendo of the song.  Extending the harmonious vibe, Franti sang I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like). The crowd sang along to the chorus repeating, “I’m Alive, I’m Alive, I’m Alive” while … jumping up and down. The show ended with the band, the stagehands, and the security team joining together to sing John Lennon’s Imagine. Instead of just leaving the stage, the entire band went into the audience and hugged people by the front of the stage (I helped spread the love by hugging Carl Young the bass player and Jay Bowman the guitar player). Michael Franti went into the audience as well. He listened to fans’ stories of how his music inspired them and took selfies to the delight of everyone around him.

G. Love and The North Mississippi Allstars

The day before the benefit The North Mississippi AllStars were at Breckenridge Brewery (same venue) opening up for Big Head Todd and the Monsters. The band consisting of brothers Luther Dickenson and Cody Dickenson with bass player Rob Walbourne stayed an extra day to join the benefit concert. G. Love was performing with his band Special Sauce at an October Festival in downtown Denver. He stayed an extra day to join The North Mississippi AllStars for a joyful set of music. It’s not the first time they have collaborated. G. Love recruited Luther Dickenson to play on the track Just Fine for his 2010 Fixin’ to Die album. They played that song which highlighted G. Love’s rapping and Luther Dickenson’s amazing guitar playing. G. Love’s Cold Beverages had the Dickenson brothers smiling while the crowd held up their beers to sing along, “Strawberry daiquiris and a colada/I need a whole lotta them/Fruit drinks to catch me a buzz/I must tell you I’m the/Cool aid kid/Before you serve my drink/Please stick it in the fridge.”

Wildermiss

Denver’s own Wildermiss started the hurricane relief concert off in the early afternoon before the crowd started to sunburn. They were all dressed in black jeans with white converse shoes. It was either their band uniform or the start of some kind of kooky cult. Joshua Hester’s and Seth Beamer’s guitars drove their pop rock sound. Drummer Caleb Thoemke kept the rhythm while singer Emma Cole channeled her inner Hayley Williams (the front woman from Paramore). Carry Your Heart got the audiences attention with its handclap chorus and shouts of “Hey, Hey, Hey.”  Keep It Simple was the first track written by the band. The combination of guitar hooks and false endings created a memorable song. Wildermiss will be releasing their first EP later on in the month to expose their music to people outside of the confines of a brewery.

See you at the next show. I’ll be the one hugging the band.

Big Head Todd and the Monsters, North Mississippi All Stars, and Anderson East at the Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton, CO on 10/7/19

Big Head Todd and the Monsters

Two days after I turned twenty-one-years-old, I saw Big Head Todd and the Monsters at a small Denver bar named Herman’s Hideaway. I was drawn to their blues based sound with Stevie Ray Vaughan inspired guitar licks. The Colorado band’s music became the sound track of my life when I transformed from a college student to a “responsible” adult. I have their 1991 album Midnight Radio etched in my brain. I can even be seen dancing … badly in the audience in their 2008 concert video filmed at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Now they are about to release their latest studio album New World Arisin’ and they have never sounded better.

Todd Park Mohr and his pants

On Saturday at Breckenridge BreweryBig Head Todd and the Monsters starting off strong with Sister Sweetly. Their live version has gotten much funkier over the years compared to their 1993 studio version from the platinum album of the same name. The fifty-one year old front man Todd Park Mohr appeared in white pants with a aqua-blue shirt. He’s a rock star so he can break the no white pants after Labor Day fashion rule. Drummer Brian Nevin never missed a beat as the sun heated things up making his shirt soaked in sweat. Keyboardist and petal steel guitarist Jeremy Lawton got into the spirit of the venue by wearing a Breckenridge Brewery staff shirt. He played beautiful refrains and provided impressive backing vocals. Bass player Rob Squires smiled the entire time while producing bass lines that held the band together.  Todd Park Mohr channeled his inner Elvis during Rock Steady by shaking his hips (a little something for the ladies). Crowd favorites Bittersweet, Please Don’t Tell Her, Moose Song, and Circle were played to the delight of their devoted fans. Returning for the encore, Todd Park Mohr took the stage alone to pay tribute to the recently departed Tom Petty by singing I Won’t Back Down. An extremely inebriated woman in a Tom Petty shirt pushed her way through the crowd to show Todd Park Mohr her shirt. Security told the American Girl … Don’t Come Around Here No More and moved her Into the Great Wide Open. R.I.P. Tom Petty.

The North Mississippi Allstars

I thought I never saw Dickinson Brothers band The North Mississippi Allstars before Saturday. I didn’t realize that I have previously seen the brothers perform in other bands. Luther Dickinson was once the lead guitarist in The Black Crowes. Both brothers were in the super group The Word led by Robert Randolph. Cody Dickinson gave a new definition for multi-instrumalist. He played the drums, keyboards, bass, and sang (sometimes at the same time).  Bass player Rob Walbourne snuck behind a drum kit when Cody Dickinson picked up his bass.  But Luther Dickinson was lazy and only played the guitar and sang (slacker). Many of the songs flowed together so nicely it was hard to realize when one song ended and another began. But Luther Dickinson gave the peace sign letting the audience know it officially ended.

Anderson East – All photos by The
Rock and Roll Princess

The day at the brewery started with soul singer Anderson East. I saw him last year open for Chris Stapleton. In that short period of time, he went from singing mostly cover songs to a set that was mainly his own material.  The opening song Quit You co-written by Stapleton won the crowd over immediately with his soulful voice backed by a powerful horn section.  One of the highlights was the ballad All I’ll Ever Need – “You could steal the stars from heaven/And all the water from the deep blue seas/Oh, cause your love, your love, darling/It’s all I’ll ever need.” As the sun got warmer, he took off his jacket to reveal a camouflage shirt.  I would like to describe more of East’s performance, but since he was in camouflage he disappeared.

See you at the next show.  I’ll be the one not wearing white pants after Labor Day.  I’m not Todd Park Mohr.  I can’t get away with it.