In the live music world, there’s nothing quite like the buzz of a sold-out show. Sure, It can be cool to see great acts play to small crowds, but nothing beats that feeling of seeing your favorite bands play to a packed house of their most diehard fans.
This is especially true in more intimate venues, where the right acts can capitalize on the excitement in the room and create a reciprocal energy exchange of sorts, leveling up the show in the process.
Such was the case at the Turf Club on Saturday night, where two stellar Midwest-based americana bands played to a full house, delivering excellent sets in the process.
The first, Twin Cities based Quartet Good Morning Bedlam, quickly won over the crowd with their high energy songs, and genre-fusing approach. Melding pop, rock, folk, and even jazz (one member regularly plays a trumpet onstage), Good Morning Bedlam’s particular musical synthesis is distinctly their own (It’s not every day you see jazz trumpet infused pop folk rock after all).
Complex harmony was also present at times, which added yet another layer of intrigue. These myriad influences, combined with the band’s undeniably catchy songs, made for a whirlwind of an opening set.
Following Good Morning Bedlam in an intimate venue is a tough ask for any band, but the evening’s headliners, Wisconsin’s Them Coulee Boys, were more than up to the task. Though they also fall musically under the broad “americana” umbrella, the “Them Coulee Boys Sound” Is more based in folk rock than anything else, with some bluegrass instrumentation to boot.
However you define what it is they do, it is immediately clear to anybody watching that Them Coulee boys are exceptional at it.
On record, and in the live show, it all starts with the songs. Them Coulee Boys’ songs are well-crafted, energetic, and often emotional. Songs are a band’s most valuable currency, and Them Coulee Boys have them in spades.
Some were poignant, some were cathartic, and some were just plain fun. They all worked. The fact that the songs (even the new unreleased ones they played) were so universally resonant is a testament to their quality.
In terms of the live show, this meant lots of singing along, lots of dancing, and a definite instance of that elusive but sought after band-crowd energy exchange.
The band hit every note that one could have asked them to and showed why they’re one of the best in the Midwest. They alluded at one point to having new material in the works, and after watching a show like this, we should all be stoked to hear it.