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Published: 2014/01/24
by Ray Bowden

Railroad Earth and Anders Osborne, Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO- 1/18

Photos by Larry Hulst

Railroad Earth capped-off their two-night stay at Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium on January 18 with a rollicking show that covered old and new ground and surged with energy from the first note.

The Stillwater, N.J. band has a way of sneaking up on you. Just when they finish off a very solid first set filled with goodies – “Drag Him Down” from Bird in a House (2002), “Mourning Flies” and “Goat” from The Good Life (2003) and “The Last of the Outlaws,” the title track from their just-released seventh album – they return for a complete mindbender of a second set that lifts the roof and spends every ounce of the happy crowd’s energy.

For set two, Railroad Earth took the crowd on a two-and-a-half hour ride featuring the more than 20-minute “All That’s Dead May Live Again” > “Face With a Hole” – a seven-movement monster that’s easily the band’s most ambitious recording to date.

Teetering on the edge of prog-rock but never heavy handed, “All That’s Dead May Live Again”>’Face With a Hole” highlighted the best of each band member’s talents, with all but lead-singer / guitarist Todd Sheaffer and drummer Corey Harmon switching instruments throughout the song, a meditative exploration on violence, the outlaw life, and redemption.

Other highlights of the set were a “Peace on Earth” and “Like a Buddha” from “Bird in a House,” “Been Down this Road” and “The Forecast” from Amen Corner (2008), and a bluegrass stomp through Peter Rowan’s “‘Wall’s of Time.”

The band closed out their night with a seething take on The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues.”

Guitar-slinger / songwriter Anders Osborne opened the evening with 45 minutes of earthy, feedback-laden stomp, a far cry from Railroad Earth’s acoustic, Appalachian-tinged musings. Osborne and his band sound like Neil Young and Crazy Horse if the horse had somehow been replaced by a giant swamp-pig yanked from a deep Louisiana Bog. If it’s possible to put on an epic show in less than an hour Osborne and his band did just that. Anders and his powerful, airtight band should not be missed.

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