A nearly sold out show at Cain’s Ballroom last Tuesday night featured The Ghost of Paul Revere and Trampled by Turtles. Previous to that evening, these are two bands that I hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing. Trampled by Turtles has been on my list of bands to see for awhile and finding out The Ghost of Paul Revere would be opening was an obvious bonus. As mentioned, this show wasn’t sold out, but the crowd was large and quite diverse. I saw parents with toddlers and even infants in tow, as well as a man in a Care Bear snuggie sporting a pink, sparkly backpack.
Opening the show was The Ghost of Paul Revere, a trio that hails from Maine, but with the addition of keyboards and drums on this tour, the band numbered five. Made up of Griffin Sherry on guitars/vocals, Sean McCarthy on bass/vocals and Max Davis on banjo and vocals, the group melds influences like Radiohead, Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd with standard instruments like drums and guitars and then throws in more unusual elements like the banjo and accordion to make a sound that can be described as “infectious.” Singing some of their more well-known songs like “San Antone” and “Welcome Home” the most magical part of the evening was when the disco ball was turned on overhead and thousands of tiny shimmering lights lit up the inside of Cain’s Ballroom to the cover of The Band’s, “I Shall Be Released”. Judging by the crowd’s reaction, they enjoyed that moment and the whole set, as much as I did.
The intermission between the two bands was quite lengthy, mainly because of the massive amount of instruments that needed to be set up on stage. Trampled by Turtles boasts six members and the amount of instruments the group plays is mind boggling. At one point I noticed an entire moveable rack of fiddles that I couldn’t keep my eyes off of. Trampled by Turtles can be described as a combination of bluegrass and folk rock, and is made up of Dave Simonette on guitar and lead vocals, Erik Berry on mandolin and backing vocals, Dave Carroll on banjo and backing vocals, Eamonn McClain on cello and backing vocals, Tim Saxhaug on bass and backing vocals, and Ryan Young on fiddle and backing vocals. Founded in 2003, the band has an impressive eight albums to pull from for their setlists. Equally as impressive was the lighting that the band used throughout the evening. Several rows of round globe lights were placed behind the band and depending on the song, different patterns were lit up at varying times. It truly was a show for the senses. Early in the set, the band mentioned the fact they hadn’t played in Tulsa in a long time, but on this trip had stopped at the Woody Guthrie Center earlier in the day and what a “powerful place to be”. Saying it was “the only time I’ve been to church this whole tour” drew some laughs from the crowd, but it’s a good feeling when bands mention that they actually enjoy some of the best parts of the city you call home. Playing songs like, “Are You Behind the Shining Star?”, “At Your Window”, “We All Get Lonely” and “Kelly’s Bar”, the mood of the set varied between quiet and almost reverent to fast-paced, foot-stomping, shaking the floor, music. Every member of the band is extremely talented and regular solos on each instrument was a testament to their musicianship. Observing the crowd from the soundbooth, I could see friends dancing with friends, babies being bounced on hips and couples swinging each other on the dance floor. Both bands provided an excellent soundtrack for concert goers on this particular night and it was refreshing to see that people of all ages were enjoying the music.