The Mile High Club in Council Bluffs Iowa is a great place to be on most Saturday nights if you’re sporting a mullet or perhaps a shaved head. It's obvious that the lower portion of the High Club is restricted for non-mullet bearers (be warned). This is quite alright if your planning to see Taboot in the upper section but again, stay clear of them rascally mullet heads, while they seem docile when stricken with a brisk case of the drunks they will lash their teeth out the minute they see blood. But back to Taboot.

Taboot is a fourth tier jamband that gets it kicks by playing Phish songs. There are four of them all playing the corresponding instruments that Phish would. It's hard to think about Phish and not think hiatus. And while rumors will be rumors the fact is that they are not touring. So must we break down? Crawl back into our respective caves and cry in a low dark moan reminiscent of our enlarged fore-headed ancestors? That might be pushing it but some of you people, I don't know? Well, for those with post-Phish depression and an affinity for all things new and strange, Taboot might be your tiny piece of paper.

They opened with "Cavern" and immediately it was obvious that they were tight and talented. Not all licks were pulled off with uncanny perfection. Not all changes were performed at the right measure. Hell, I don't think every lyric in Tube was precise. But Trey put it simply in Bittersweet by saying, "That's not what it's about." What it might be about is getting people dancing and this Taboot could do exceptionally well. From the minute "Cavern" started hardly a single foot was left untapped.

The second song of the night was a ferocious "Stash." Interestingly enough, I was talking with a friend who had seen a different band play "Stash" and he said each time they tried it, it was miserable. However, Taboot's version was more like a Phish version with the lead guitarist head banging to the ending riffs. "Fee" was next and to make this song a little more interesting the lead guitarist did a hand narration of the song. Complete with sharks, nipples, and clog dancing.

I went for a drink about this time and heard the opening "Chalkdust Torture" riffs. The bartenders at the Mile High Club were vastly undermanned and under experienced. So by the time I ordered my drink "Chalkdust Torture" was ending. I was in no hurry to return to my back row, tapping room only placement when I heard the crunchy A minor chord of "Tube" set in. I pushed and shoved my way out of the bar area as people tried to talk to me, finally landing myself in the front row right as the instrumental mid-section began. Immediately, Taboot set into the groove with its own signature style. I watched as the bassist and guitarist repeatedly smiled at each other knowing that their interplay had gotten through to the crowd. This ended the first set. The lights went on and everybody looked frazzled. Drums began to play in the little hall and some little kid got mad at me because I wasn't keeping time on the djembe. We staggered around wondering if they would play another set at midnight. By and by everyone stayed and it seemed likely that another set would commence and then the lights went out.

"2001" began and I barley noticed that I had been drinking all night. Again Taboot’s personality was shown off again and the crowd in turn thanked them by kicking up massive heels. The night began to get a little fuzzy for me about now but I do remember the second set had a good "Maze" and no slow songs showed their faces. The band quit at about 1:35 and everyone was beat. People lay scattered around the small venue like those who had just witnessed too much for to long. It was an exciting night and Taboot had conquered my appreciation. I set out to the car and wondered if I’d ever come back to this mullet entrenched place. I thought, if Taboot was playing, sure.

Dallas Ripley
JamBase in... Iowa!
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[Published on: 12/8/01]

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