Words by: Steve Itzkowitz
Hot Buttered Rum/Railroad Earth :: 10.04.07 :: Key Club :: Hollywood, CA
Fiddle me this Batman: what do you get when have two banjos, two violins, two mandolins two guitars and two acoustic basses? Well, you get the double bill of Hot Buttered Rum and Railroad Earth hitting the famous Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.
| Tim Carbone :: RRE|
10.04 by Keith Berson
Right from the get go it was a night of foot tapping and knee slapping. The Key Club filled up early, eager to greet HBR as they got things going with "Swing and Sway," featuring banjo player Erik Yates on vocals. New song "Waiting for a Squall" picked up the tempo as the harmonizing in the quintet started to take shape. It looked like a hoedown on the floor during "Honey Be," where fiddle player Aaron Redner really shined. Speaking of bees, it was time for some crosspollination as John Skehan (mandolin) and Tim Carbone (violin) of RRE joined HBR for a take on Bob Marley's "Small Axe." Already wowing the crowd with their unique arrangement of the reggae gem, it was the improvisation, greased by almost a dozen shows together on their current co-tour across the country, which brought things to a new height.
Railroad Earth hit the stage for two sets, opening with what is arguably there best known track, "Storm" – a track many of us were first introduced to at The Warfield in December of 2004 when RRE sat in with Phil Lesh & Friends. The pace picked up right away with their second tune, which showed shades of Old In the Way's "Pig In A Pen" throughout. Once again, the crowd picked up on RRE's energy. The floor was crowded but there was plenty of room in the back to dance, which many did. Even more appealing, the air conditioning was on.
With Todd Sheaffer leading the way on acoustic guitar and vocals, Railroad Earth barreled through the rest of the show with tremendous energy. The audience stayed extremely receptive, never letting the excitement wane too far.
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