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Published: 2012/05/04
by Sam Robertson

Trampled By Turtles, Webster Hall, New York, NY – 4/17

Trampled By Turtles brought their lonesome bluegrass sound to a packed show at Webster Hall for the biggest New York show of their career, and a fired up crowd welcomed the band with enthusiastic cheers and crazed energy. Sharing songs from their new album Stars & Satellites and plenty of older material, Trampled By Turtles delivered manic bluegrass and mournful ballads over the course of a 90 minute set.

Before Trampled By Turtles took the stage, their friends These United States treated the crowd to an opening set of roots flavored rock and roll. These United States showcased rough-hewn but irresistibly catchy vocal harmonies on “The Business,” and bouncy feel good rocker “First Sight” caught the ear of a few new fans. Towards the end of their set, they invited Trampled By Turtles’ Erik Berry to the stage, and Berry lent his mandolin to the pulsing garage rock of “I Want You To Keep Everything,” trading blistering licks with These United States’ pedal steel guitarist. For the last song of the set, Trampled By Turtles frontman Dave Simonett and fiddle player Ryan Young joined in for a ragged but right take on Steve Earle’s “Steve’s Last Ramble.” With catchy rock and roll, singalong choruses and just the right amount of quirky charm, These United States are bound to be headlining venues like Webster Hall in the near future.

After These United States outstanding opening set, Trampled By Turtles took the stage greeted by a wildly enthusiastic crowd. Opening with “Midnight on the Interstate” from Stars & Satellites, Trampled By Turtles shared most of their new brand new album. “Midnight on the Interstate,” which opens with quiet strumming and Simonett’s road-weary lyrics, may have started things off calmly, but the band then ripped into the lightning fast picking of new instrumental “Risk.” “Beautiful” and “Widower’s Heart,” the two heart-wrenching ballads on Stars & Satellites, were just as delicately beautiful live, and “Widower’s Heart” drew cheers when Simonett sang, “New York was a rough town that treated me well.” But the album’s first single, “Alone” was the highlight of the night as they invited out These United States to singalong on the chorus and lead the crowd through crazed handclapping and footstomping.

“Wait So Long” from Trampled By Turtles’ last album Palomino matched “Alone” in thrilling crowd energy, as Ryan Young’s fiddle solo had the floor shaking as the crowd jumped along. Palomino reached the top of iTunes bluegrass charts and earned the band thousands of new fans, and they performed a healthy dose of tunes from that album as well. The breezy country of “New Orleans” and bruised and battered ballad “Bloodshot Eyes” were standouts, while the mournful“Again” closed the show on a somber note. Returning for an encore, they delighted the crowd by breaking out rarely played older tune “Whiskey” as the crowd joyously sang along.

Trampled By Turtles may be a group of guys with acoustic instruments, but they just can’t be pigeon-holed as a bluegrass band. Rock and roll, country and punk rock bleed into their songwriting as much as if not more than bluegrass, and live Trampled By Turtles perform with a reckless abandon that few bands from any genre can compete with. After ten years on the road, Trampled By Turtles’ hard work has paid off and their folk music on steroids sound keeps reaching more and more fans with every passionate show they play.

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