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.

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