Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Gourds @ The State Theater

We returned to the State Theater on November 14th to see one of our favorite bands, The Gourds. For the past ten years this band has been cranking out their unique form of music laced with a little country, bluegrass, zydeco, and rock. Whereas I've enjoyed every CD they have released, you will not fully appreciate the band unless you witness a live performance. Then you can witness the large array of musical instruments that each member has mastered and best of all, the band's basic zaniness.

These characteristics were all on display the 14th. I lost count of the number of instruments Max Johnston played, from the fiddle, banjo, acoustic guitar, mandolin, slide guitar, etc... Claude Bernard switched back and forth from the accordion to the organ; Kevin Russell from the mandolin to the acoustic or electric guitar; and Jimmy Smith from the electric and acoustic bass to the guitar. Drummer Keith Langford rounds out the band adding several types of percussion. Then there is the band's wackiness. Throughout the night Kevin Russell would randomly break out into a southern jig and Jimmy Smith was full of his famous facial expressions and arm movements.

However, the best part of a Gourds show is that the band puts as much energy into the third or fourth song as in the last. Their current tour is in support of their latest album, Noble Creatures, but fans of Heavy Ornamentals and Cow Fish Fowl or Pig heard some favorites from these. This was my first chance to hear from Noble Creatures and I already have a few favorites: How Will You Shine?, Flavor On the Tongue, Moon Gone Down, and Steeple Full Of Shadows. They also did great renditions of Pill Bug Blues, My Name Is Jorge, Hellhounds, Blankets, Mister Betty, and Lower 48. In total they played about 20 songs. The crowd was also enthusiastic- people dancing and singing - and carrying on with the band. The Gourds only have a few more dates set for their 2007 tour - so check out these dates here.

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