Last year Avogadro’s Number hosted the first Hootenanny mini-festival, and this year the Hootenanny has expanded to include both a winter and a summer event. The winter show was this past Saturday (January 18th). It featured 3 bands plus Tyler T. as a between-sets extra. Rich With Friends opened the night, followed by Free Range Pickens and Von Stomper. This event gave the musicians in all these acts a chance to see each other’s sets, a rare pleasure for most musicians (who often tend to all be working at the same time at different venues). Since all 4 acts are among my top favorites I was thrilled to be able to show off so many of my favorites to my friends, and it was fantastic to see everyone and just hang out with so many of my friends for an evening (while taking photos and networking, hard at work as always). If I had to find one thing I’d want to see done differently next time, I’d want to see more female musicians performing at the next Hootenanny; there were only 2 women in the whole line-up this time, Emily in Rich With Friends and Robin in Free Range Pickens, and as much as I love the guys who played this time, I’d love to see these events showcasing talented women as well next time. Still, this was a very successful first show for what will hopefully become a long-standing traditional event at Avo’s.
Rich With Friends (bluegrass/folk) is working on new material, and they played several new songs at this show that I had not yet heard. Rich With Friends is planning a summer tour that will take them to quite a few states, not many to the west of us this time, but I’m sure over the next year or so they will show the western states some more love too. Their live shows are always stellar, and all my friends who caught part of this opening set were impressed. Yes, I do have great taste, and the fact that I think this band sounds amazing really does imply that they are actually a really really good band that sounds amazing.
Free Range Pickens and Von Stomper also played some new songs at the Hootenanny, and between them Avo’s was packed and there was lots of dancing well into the night. Out in the bar between sets, while the bands were setting up the stage for the next act, Tyler T. kept the music flowing with short sets, with his two didgeridoos, electronic drum pad, fancy guitar synthesizer & pedals, and guitars, plus his shiny new banjo, making its very first public appearance. The didgeridoos were, as always, a crowd-pleaser that might have kept everyone well-entertained on their own almost, but the banjo was a nice addition, adding an interesting texture to some of my favorite ‘classic’ Tyler T. songs.
Von Stomper closed out the show, playing until the band was drooping and dripping with sweat, and it was fairly near last call by the time the show ended for the night. I know I didn’t leave the building until well after 2am. Several of the singers in this band were losing their voices already before their set was half-way over, so I’m sure they were glad for a rest when the show was over, but as their voices grew more and more ragged, their energy made up for it to keep the room full and dancing throughout their full set. Hopefully they will all be fully recovered and ready to sing at their best for their competition performance against Free Range Pickens and Hog Magundy tomorrow.
The Hodi’s show tomorrow, the Waka Winter Classic (Hodi’s Halfnote, $10, 8pm-1am, January 23), is a competition to select a band to perform at the Wakarusa music festival later this year (June 5-8). All the bands participating tomorrow are great, and it will be a tough competition (one I am glad I don’t have to decide). Hog Magundy, who was not in the Hootenanny show this past weekend, opened for the Chicago band Old Shoe on Monday. $10 gets you in to see all 5 bands and gives you one vote towards picking the winner that will play at Wakarusa in June. All of these bands’ fans should be at Hodi’s tomorrow night. And if you get bored and need more music, the Snake Oil Trio, Britton Deuel and Brooke Reisse will be playing at Cranknstein starting at 9pm, a free show and practically just across the street from Hodi’s.