Over the weekend, Leftover Salmon splashed down for two nights in The Choice City with a bucketload of buttery jams and assorted shenanigans. For the group’s two-night run at Fort Collins, Colorado’s Aggie Theatre, the band invited newcomers Woodshed Red to open the show on Friday and The Jauntee to take those honors on Saturday. Leftover Salmon is a band anew; what began as an injection of youth from banjoist Andy Thorn has continued with the addition of Alwyn Robinson on drums and now Erik Deutsch on keys. Objectively, Vince Herman and Drew Emmitt are the old guys, but their picking skills are still second to none.
Night one began with Colorado Springs’ Woodshed Red. This four-piece is just a good time. Their style of dance-fueled jam grass was an excellent start to the night. With the release of their first album Rosin On the Bow in 2014, Woodshed Red has been garnering new fans up and down the Front Range ever since. This is Colorado music at its finest. They opened up with “I Never.” Originals like the snappy instrumental “Pink Pants” blended beautifully with a grass cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On.” Woodshed Red is definitely a band to keep your eye on if you dig solid musicianship and strong songwriting. The cherry on top was a stringed out version of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.”
Setlist: Woodshed Red | Aggie Theatre | Fort Collins, CO | 2/2/2018
Set One: I Never, Pink Pants, Wreckin Machine, Ramble On, Real Mother For Ya, I’m On Fire, Carry On, $$$$$
Leftover Salmon shows are chocked full of musical prowess and their two nights in Fort Collins were no exception. With a new album Something Higher set for release in early May, Salmon has a slew of fresh material which made it’s way into the set lists both nights.
This was some fresh Salmon mixed nicely with all the classics fans have come to love. The highlight of the first set was an unbelievable version of The Grateful Dead’s “U.S. Blues”, which segued tightly into Afroman’s “Because I Got High” before returning to the Dead favorite. They kept that vibe going with “Deep Elum Blues” before Drew Emmitt took the vocals on an Earth-shaking “Down In The Hollow.” They ended their first of four set with a bouncy “Sing Up To the Moon.”
Salmon’s second set of night one featured some stellar banjo work from Andy Thorn, particularly on “Gulf Mexico.” The band unexpectedly broke into an instrumental version of Phil Collins’ “That’s All” righter after “Bird Call.” Drew again demonstrated his robust vocals during a top-notch “Bend In The River.” The rest of the set was a massive jam with extensive transitions including everything from the Salmon classic “Jack London” to The Who’s new-wave throwdown “Eminence Front.” They closed it down with “Morning Sun.” The encore deserves another paragraph, but let’s just say it was worth the wait.
Setlist: Leftover Salmon | Aggie Theatre | Fort Collins, CO | 2/2/2018
Set One: Mountain Top, Show Me Something Higher, Southern Bell, Colorado Evermore, Valley Of The Full Moon, US Blues> Cause I Got High> US Blues> Deep Elum Blues, Down In The Hollow, Rag Mama Rag, Sing Up To The Moon
Set Two: Reach, Liza, Gulf Of Mexico, Bird Call, (Sockeye – That’s All), Bend In The River, Live It High> Takin’ Care Of Business> Honky Tonk Woman> Jack London> Live It High> Eminence Front> Morning Sun
Encore: New Speedway Boogie> Wake n Bake> New Speedway Boogie> Let In A Little Light
[Audio: Eric Wilkens]
For their second night at The Aggie, Leftover Salmon invited Niwot’s The Jauntee to Fort Collins to warm up the crowd. It would be easy to lump them into the progressive rock category, however, this misses the mark. This is a multi-genre jam band that is ridiculously fun. Each song was a new adventure; they opened up with “Before The Storm”. Funk, Americana, rock and roll were all on the table as The Jauntee took the audience on a ride for an hour. The bubbly “Renaissance Man” featured the funky bass of John Loland and the straightforward vocals of Tyler Adams. Ultimately guitarist Caton Sollenberger stole the show with his intricate riffs and relentless solos. “Old Thompson” was a highly composed tune with countless twists and turns. The Jauntee is the type of band you randomly come across at a festival and then never forget.
Setlist: The Jauntee | Aggie Theatre | Fort Collins, CO | 2/3/2018
Set 1: Before the Storm, Know it All > For the Birds, Renaissance Man -> Fear, Valley Girl, Everybody Knows This is Nowhere> Old Thompson
Leftover Salmon returned to the Aggie stage for one more night of rambunctious rowdiness and tight tunes. Vince danced his way through “Better” to start the set. Salmon went deep and dark on night two with huge versions of “Breakin Through” and the Vince-sung “Danger Man.” The “Pasta On The Mountain” was a huge high point with a version of The Eagles’ “Hotel California” sung to the tune of “Rocky Top” into the Grateful Dead’s “Going Down The Road Feeling Bad” smack dab in the middle. They brought back the “Pasta” to end the first set.
The “Zombie Jamboree” got fans dancing early during the second set. Vince invited his son, Silas Herman (Gipsy Moon), to lend his strings to the mix on “Unplug That Telephone.” He stayed up for the “Sockeye” jam as well. Andy again took a turn on the mic for “Light Behind The Rain.” They closed with a huge version of Lou Reed’s “Rock and Roll.” The encore again took on monumental proportions with Rag’n Bone Man’s “Rueben’s Train” setting the stage for a huge jam that included Iron Butterfly’s “In A Gadda Da Vida” as well as The Beatles’ “Come Together.”
Setlist: Leftover Salmon | Aggie Theatre | Fort Collins, CO | 2/3/2018
Set One: Better, Gold Hill Line, Here Comes The Night, Flight Of The Durbin> Breakin’ Through, Higher Ground, Danger Man, Pasta On The Mountain> Hotel Rocky Top> Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad> Pasta On The Mountain
Set Two: All Night Ride, Zombie Jamboree, The Other Side, Winter’s Gone Today, Out In The Woods, Unplug That Telephone*> (Sockeye)*> Light Behind The Rain, Unpromised Land, Rock and Roll
Encore: Reubens’ Train> Hot Corn, Cold Corn> Reubens’ Train> In A Gadda Da Vida> Come Together> Crossroads> Reubens’ Train
* with Silas Herman on guitar
[Audio: Eric Wilkens]
Leftover Salmon, and in particular Vince Herman and Drew Emmitt are the godfathers of jamgrass. They represent all that is good in the music world of Colorado. They are singlehandedly responsible for inspiring generations of jammers and bluegrass fans. And they are still at it today. With a slew of tour dates including their upcoming stay at The Stanley Hotel and a slot at Summer Camp Music Festival, Leftover Salmon shows no signs of slowing down. Next time they are heading through your town don’t hesitate, just go.
You can check out a collection of photos from Leftover Salmon’s recent show in Fort Collins below, courtesy of the author, Nicholas Stock.