Photos by Kirsten Cohen
Review by Miranda Brooks
I popped out of my Denver music bubble and traveled to Boulder – to catch The Yawpers show at Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place. Once there, I was greeted by the hostess and informed of the Suerte Tequila promotion that involved free drinks- all night. And so it began.
The Yawpers, based in Boulder, are a traveling trio consisting of Nate Cook on lead guitar and vox, Jesse Parmet on guitar and James Hale on drums. Reviewing the hand-written set list I was gifted, I wondered how 20 songs ahead of us would sound in a room that felt like an intimate annex of an urban art gallery.
The boys began with “Rock Bottom,” a White Stripes-inspired piece that talked about being drunk for days with the inability to even find a way to their knees to pray. “Jesus Car” is about a ’67 Nova Super Sport reincarnated as The Holy Ghost, “Mother” is a sweet song played early on with lyrics “if you ain’t got no mother, you ain’t got no home,” followed at the end with Cook saying “OK, enough of the pussy shit…moving on.” Other songs were prefaced with humorous quips like “this one is for those of you who like to rock,” and ‘this one is about hallucinogens,” and “this one is about huffing gas and spontaneous combustion.”
Crowd participation took place as the audience was encouraged to clap on the up-beat, provide supporting vocals for “Yakety Yak” and to gather around as Cook took to the floor with his guitar.
And just when I thought I had seen it all, their encore was epic, amazing and totally unforeseen. Hale donned a full unicorn mask as he beat the drums while Cook reappeared shirtless and ready to rock. They covered “Sweet Emotion” while covered in sweet emotion.
It should be noted that the intensity of the set -with no breaks- never lulled even as the audience varied in size and style. The Yawpers’ music meandered waywardly with messy intention that delivered a satisfied feeling of exceeded expectation. The highs and lows within each song represented their authentic point of view, as influences of modern day Americana, Blues, Punk and back-to-basics garage-styled Rock and Roll were heard and felt. The Yawpers just may have a thing or two to say.