The Scene: This show fell on March 16th, the day before Saint Patrick’s Day. As anybody with even a touch of Irish blood will tell you this is a magical day. It is what we like to call Saint Practice day. It’s not a day of Unicorns and Leprechauns; no it’s magical because it is the day that we begin stretching our livers for the main event. Judging by the sheer number of individuals in green and gold filling the floor of the Ogden, Denver must be 90% Irish. Many of the people filing in the doors as they opened at 8:00 were already in a drunken state that I don’t usually see until the final encore of the night. I could tell early on it was going to be an interesting night.
Opener: John Fullbright. Spilt drinks were already covering the floor as Grammy nominated John Fullbright took the stage. The 24 year old stepped up to the mic with guitar in hand and started his set with the song “Satan and St. Paul.” He automatically endeared himself with the local crowd when he sang ” I told you that I’m leaving/ But I’m probably telling lies/If only I could make it out/To Denver, Colorado/ I’d book it out of Satan and St. Paul.” Playing songs mainly off of 2012’s From the Ground Up, the set showcased the talent of John as a musician as he played guitar, harmonica and piano. Although I did not know about the Americana singer/song writer before the show, I was happier than Hell that I did not miss his set. Keep your eye on John Fullbright, I expect big things in the future from this illegitimate love child of the sounds of Steve Earle and Todd Snider.
G. Love & Special Sauce: Between the bands there were lines. Lines at the bathroom, lines at the bar, lines back to the bathroom, and an extraordinarily long line at the merchandise table. Upon closer inspection I found out that Garret Dutton, G Love himself, had agreed to meet after the show with the first fifty folks who made a purchase. This was a fine way to build a fan base, and move a little merchandise.
Before the headliner took the stage there was barely enough room for a person to shake their shamrock or shillelaghs, but that did not stop them from trying as G.Love & Special Sauce took the stage and began to play “Don’t Drop It.” Scrawled across the evenings set list was a reminder to “bring the ruckus.” With Timo Shanko on stand up base and Jeffrey Clemens (Houseman) on drums that’s exactly what Garret and the “Sauce” did. Playing their laid back Hip-Hop blues, the trio ran through crowd favorites like “Back of the Bus,” “Who’s Got the Weed,” and “Walk to Slide.”
Garret gave a nod to the Golden Age of Hip-Hop and his roots as he put down his guitar and walked to the front of the stage to freestyle. This style of rap is performed with no previously composed lyrics. To ensure that everything was “off the top of the head,” G. Love would ask members of the audience for a topic and then he would create an instantaneous verse. The topics were all over the board from things like “milk and cookies” to “love,” and of course the Colorado favorite “weed.” The Amendment 64 verse ended up containing the holiday relevant line “Leprechauns smoking that green shit down.” Later throw in a cover of Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” a couple of beers, and an encore that included “Cold Beverages” and “Shooting Hoops” and you have the perfect precursor to the best holiday of the year.
Stage Presence: A+
Set/Light Show: B+