Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rhombus Ruckus

On Saturday my friend Sean and I attended Rhombus Ruckus, a bluegrass/folk music festival featuring four bands--North River Ramblers, GypsyFoot, Johnson Family Band, and Trampled by Turtles sponsored by Rhombus Guys Pizza. We missed the first band because of time constraints but got to take in the last three bands, some beer, and delicious pizza (Girlfriend Diavolo and T. Rex -- I LOVE Rhombus Guys Pizza)

Gypsyfoot (their photo, not mine)

As you can see, it was POURING rain during their concert. There were some tents to shelter those of us less willing to get wet, but you can see not everyone minded... the little sweetheart in green had to be someone's grandma and she was seriously getting down through it all. The crowd looks meager here but it grew as time went on.

Some Woodstock wannabees didn't mind the rain at all... but they must be crazy. It was friggin' freezing out there.

Gypsyfoot has a really great sound. (Check it out on their myspace page) I loved the concert and am going to have to get a CD. The total music effect was awesome and I loved the vocal quality too. It's almost hard to believe they are out of Bismarck, ND. No offense Bismarck, but I just tend to think "cow country USA" when I get that far west. Their website describes their brand of music better than I can:

"Fusion, Cross-Genre, Multi-Genre... Although rather vague, these are quite possibly the most accurate terms to describe the music of GypsyFoot. This Bismarck-based 7-piece group has not only a serious passion for creating music together, but also a common mission: "To unite people from all walks of life through Musical Diversity." Since forming in the fall of 2003, it has become increasingly apparent that this mission is succeeding. And by taking a look around at the crowd during one of their live performances, one would certainly have to agree. Combining elements of Jazz, Funk, Latin, Blues, Rock and Reggae with their penchant for spontaneous improvisation, GypsyFoot continues to defy 'marketability' in today's heavily genre-based music industry."

One of the Johnson Family Band members wasn't able to be at the concert so a fiddle player from Trampled by Turtles stepped in. Where GypsyFoot was a bit more "groovy," this band was definitely more "bluegrass." But it was almost like bluegrass with a vengeance. I found the music too fast and the vocals too shouty for my taste. I like my bluegrass a bit more mellow and Alison Krauss quality sound if that makes any sense. These guys had a sort of frantic feel that was entertaining, certainly, but not quite as good as the bands that preceded them or followed.

Because Trampled by Turtles were sitting down on stage I wasn't able to get a very good look at them (with the crowds standing in front of me) so I didn't manage any photos either. This one is from their website. This was the "headliner" band out of Duluth, MN. They had more of a bluegrass sound too but were much more refined. You can listen to them on their myspace page.

Though I couldn't see them very well, I like to think this is what they looked like performing in the Town Square. (photo from their site) By the time they were playing the rains had mostly stopped and it actually felt a tiny bit warmer out... hallelujah.

In the end, I would have wished for better weather and a place to sit down... I am NOT a fan of standing through a concert (too damn old for that). But I did enjoy the event and am all about the music this weekend. Man, I wish I could play an instrument that well... or sing... or something. I guess I just get to be an aficianodo.... that's a nice way to say groupie!

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