Trampled by Turtles 10th Anniversary show at First Avenue, 4/17/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Erik Hess
Trampled by Turtles
with Actual Wolf and Fever Dream
First Ave., Minneapolis
Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Minneapolis isn't Trampled by Turtles' hometown, but this city sure loves the band. Opening the first of three sold-out shows at First Ave., the band celebrated their ten-year anniversary being together, which in band years is the equivalent to 50 people years. Over the course of the night, the group revisited a decade-long story of music that has deep roots in Appalachian bluegrass -- and added a cello to the arsenal for several songs.

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The show opened with the lilting "Methodism," a quietly moving piece that could have been pulled from a Neil Young or Pink Floyd album. Being in celebration of their anniversary, the band's set pulled from their entire catalog. Much of the songs were prepped for dancing shoes and drinking, but they surprisingly played quite a few slowed-down tunes that -- while intimate and heartfelt -- had the beer-guzzling crowd talking over them, waiting for the next rousing song.

Photos by Erik Hess
Although the band has commonly been compared to the Avett Brothers, they might seem a better comparison with Scottish band Frightened Rabbit. As with most bluegrass bands, the quintet focuses on stringed instruments, yet they are so enchanting, you don't realize you are missing the percussion until they are well into their set. They didn't have Minneapolis's and Duluth's body-surfing mayors in attendance tonight, but they did have beach balls during their upbeat songs.

The well-known "Victory" had the crowd happily singing and dancing along to the frenzied, melodic fiddle, quickly followed by an acoustic instrumental. Overall, the band didn't talk much from the stage. Still, they felt completely at home, moving at a steady pace for their hour and a half set. One big sign of TBT playing together for ten years is their ability to non-verbally communicate on stage. They blend together so well, one has to strain to hear each individual part. With Erik Berry's signature mandolin taking center stage for haunting "Nowhere to Hide," the group said a quick "Thank you," raised their glasses, and moved into a cover of Tears for Fears' "Mad World" -- although TBT's cover was modeled closer to Gary Jules' interpretation of the song.

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