:: Drew Emmitt ::
:: Nomad Theatre ::
:: September 10 and 11 ::
By Fallon Anderson
Just a few miles from where the Four Mile Canyon Fire raged out of control, and literally right across the street from where the helicopters were gathering water to fight the blaze, a fire of a different kind was burning in a north Boulder neighborhood. Boulder’s newest addition to its array of music venues, Nomad Theatre, was up in smoke Friday and Saturday night; thanks to the Drew Emmitt Band. This theatre’s small, yet Fox-like feel was the perfect atmosphere for a community to come together. With the band taking donations to benefit the Fourmile Canyon Fire victims, they fell right in tune with Nomad’s commitment to give the fund 5% of all September ticket sales to benefit victims of the fire..
Located behind Lucky’s Market in North Boulder, The Nomad was overwhelmed with the crowd, having to turn many away from the sold-out shows. The 155 capacity may sound like a hellish heat box stuffed to its brim, but you may be surprised to learn there is more than enough room for even upwards of that mark. And the way Drew Emmitt and his band can make a crowd come to life would have you guessing the capacity at double.
The weekend began with off-the-wall energy simulated through Drew’s vocal vivacity. Serenading his audience with a sultry, aged complexion, Drew Emmitt set the boundaries for two nights of heat in North Boulder. With five pairs of hands, the band ran their fingers through the minds of all present and came out swinging with just the right chords to strike one’s dancing nerve. Banjo extraordinaire Andy Thorn mended the gap between blues and bluegrass, picking through jams with ferocity and precision. Thorn added fuel to the fire with his fingers blazing across the strings. How could such passion not ignite guitarist Tyler Grant? Across the stage the precision was matched as Grant took no shelter to the acoustic storm he was stirring up. Add into the mix drummer Chris Misner and bassist Ben Bernstein, and these boys would have been difficult to match in the moment. When Yonder Mountain String Band’s Jeff Austin was thrown into the equation Friday night, all boundaries were singed. The perfect venue for a hint of Yonder, it was a real treat to tap into Austin’s bluesy side. Truly letting the community aspect come through in their music, this night was kindled with good intention to rain upon a parched community.
With a front man who wails not only on the mandolin, but also on electric guitar, electric mandolin, and the fiddle, the stakes were high for night two at the Nomad Theatre.
Opened in 1952, Nomad reels in a wide variety of musical acts. Launching as a music venue on June 26th of this year, there is a bright future for this barn-like theatre. Although there is a small concern regarding sound quality, this is something that can be easily fixed. The sound is a little off-balance and muffled toward the back, but nothing serious enough to alter one’s opinion of the theatre.
Setting the stage ablaze for round two, the band came out wielding a slower, more reggae-based beat than on night one. Energy and excitement circulated their way around the room as Emmitt announced they would play straight through set break. Continuing into the set, it seemed to be a night sprinkled with covers; even the beloved Bob Dylan tune “Tangled Up In Blue” made an appearance. As the night powered on, the electricity of the instruments and of the audience was doubled from the night before. The continual support and recognition of Colorado’s current disaster inspired attendees to believe in change coming through music. The band’s authenticity through words hit home with just a rattle of the blues.
In the Drew Emmitt world of electric sympathy, it is soul that sets this band apart. With an electric bass bumping the beats of ‘blues-grass’ and a drummer who keeps feet at a constant go, there’s no telling what could come next. No prediction of the following tune, no insight as to what instrument will next be picked upon, no clue regarding who may join the stage next. There lies only the assurance that the fire the Drew Emmitt Band brings blazes on, even as the Four Mile Fire (thank God) is brought under control.