Words by: Lily Jeong | Images by: Alex Nelson
Blitzen Trapper :: 02.29.09 :: Paradise Rock Club :: Boston, MA
Backstage at the Paradise Rock Club looked more like the inside of a bus than a room; in a long narrow area, mirrors replaced the windows and two liquor fridges substituted for the driver's seat. When I walked in to meet Eric Earley and Marty Marquis, I heard the ambient noise of birds singing and water flowing. Marquis pointed at a picture of a white tiger lounging in a cave against the wall. "Our sound guy is a tiger enthusiast," he explained. "This is the Zen aspect of our tour."
Blitzen Trapper has released four albums so far, and every one of them conveyed different feels and emotions. The last two - Wild Mountain Nation (2007) and Furr (2008) - received fantastic reactions from both fans and critics, but the band does not stop striving towards newness.
"I don't like to make anything the same twice, you know," said Earley. "And with this band it's good because we set it up so that we do have the freedom to experiment with things and make stuff different. It's all about moving around and changing, not staying static."
Pre-show activities included drinking, socializing, shining cowboy boots and meeting fans at the merchandise table. People were exhilarated to see the Oregon-based band, especially because it had been over a year since Blitzen Trapper played in Boston.
Shortly after Alela Diane's opening set, the band took the stage to begin with "Fire and Fast Bullets," a high-energy track from Furr. Earley's high-pitch voice complimented Brian Koch's heavy drumbeats nicely. All the instruments were striving for the same hard-rocking vibe, and the energy was directly transmitted to the crowd. The band was having fun shaking the audience inside and out, and the audience was letting the band take them wherever they wanted.
When the band went into "Sleepy Time in the Western World," the crowd energy was at the spire. A couple of people in the crowd held up Oregon license plates, and Koch rushed downstage to take pictures of them. The interaction with the crowd was a crucial part of the band's stage dynamic, and the audience duplicated the high-spirits of Blitzen Trapper and fed it right back to the stage.
|Eric Earley - Blitzen Trapper :: 02.29|
About a third-way through the set, everyone but Earley left the stage. Accompanying himself with an acoustic guitar, he played a few simple yet sentimental tunes such as "Lady On The Water." The dynamic change of the show was drastic but smooth, and people indubitably appreciated Earley's mellow vocals and lyrical harmonica-dappled melodies. His acoustic sound was reminiscent of Bob Dylan; Earley obviously is very much influenced by artists such as John Lennon and Dylan.
After the rest of the band situated themselves back on stage, Earley led them into a rock 'n' roll tune, "Love U," and his scratchy approach to the vocals brought a completely different feel to Blitzen Trapper's sound. Slow drumbeats and lethargic guitar riffs made the crowd sway into all different directions, making the song sound almost like Led Zeppelin's classic "Dazed and Confused." After warming the crowd up with the slow tune, the band continued onto "Furr," the title track of their newest album. Heavy kick drums accompanied the high-fretted acoustic guitar and the piercing harmonica surprisingly well, and the band successfully created a sound that is soothing yet very full.
The band wrapped the set up with "Devil's a Go-Go" from Wild Mountain Nation. The unusual third-note beat easily could have thrown the crowd off, but because of the high momentum they'd built throughout the show people were feeling the song as it was, enjoying the quirky nature of Blitzen Trapper. The band was clearly having a good time onstage with such a responsive crowd, and huge energy filled up the room with a high-spirit until the end of their two-song encore.
It was not until after I walked out of the venue that I found out the show was sold out. You know you must have done something right when you sell out the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. Even after a mind-blowing set the band members manned the merchandise table to meet the fans. Blitzen Trapper's passion and enthusiasm towards their music was undeniably conveyed to the crowd, and Boston will be craving for more Blitzen Trapper in the near future.
We never miss a chance to share this one with y'all. Here they are on Conan O'Brien.
Watch our exclusive feature/interview with head Trapper Eric Earley on JamBaseTV.
Blitzen Trapper is on tour now, dates here.
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