Live Review

The Band of Heathens & Mingo Fishtrap at The Funky Biscuit (Boca Raton, FL - Nov 15, 2014)

The Band of Heathens on

I returned to my regular hangout  at the Funky Biscuit almost two weks ago and saw another fascinating night of music. It was a night of surprises, among other things.  I came to seee The Band of Heathens, who are this great southern singer songwriter rock group from Austin. I've seen them on ACL, but only one other time live. These guys are definately a band worthy of checking out, their song, "One Foot in the Ether", which is what the band is known for. "One Foot in the Ether" is the title track off of the band's first album, but they mostly performed material off of their second and third albums, entitled, Top Hat Crown and the Clapmaster's Son, and Sunday Morning Record. My favorite out of the baand's catelog has to be the Top Hat album, because it has such a great New Orleans flavor to it. The tunes they performed off of the second album included "Medicine Man" and "Free Again". On the other hand songs performed form the Sunday Morning album, included tracks such as "Shotgun" and "Caroline Williams".

While the band played a great handful of originals, they also threw in two covers witin their set. The first was "Ramble On Rose" by the Grateful Dead, while the second was "The Ballad ofCurtis Loew" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. "Ramble on Rose" was a very interesting pick, because it wasn't something I expected these guys to pull out. They don't seem to be the kind of band that would play Grateful Dead songs. To me they're a southern rock band. The Skynyrd song makes sense because Skynyrd is a southern rock band. Actually the real reason they performed "The Ballad of Curtis Loew", was because they were preparing to go on a Skynyrd cruise and were asked to prepare a Skynyrd song for the event. I'd never heard "The Ballad of Curtis Loew" before, but I throughly enjoyed it. It encouraged me to give Skynyrd another go, after my bad experience with that band. Anyways it was a really great set and I was thrilled that they were asked back to the Biscuit.

Next up was another band form Austin, but this time it was one I had never heard of. The fact that I had never heard of these guys, just goes to show the massive amout of bands that are in Austin. mingo Fishtrap took the stage and when they did they got the house on their feet. These guys are a massive eight piece band, with three horns, two drummers, (one of which is on percussion), a guitar player, a guy on bass, and a guy on keys. Tthey came out with everyone on stage, except for the band's percussionist, and horn players. The horns and percusionist made their way on stage by playing all around the resteraunt before entereing the stage. This was an absolutely energetic way to oprn up the show and to really grab hold of the audience. This did grab atttention to the audience, but it wasn't the only thing the band had to offer. The band's lead guitarist and singer, Roger Blevins, Jr. had an amazingly soulful voice. This guy had some chops  and even took some risks within the course of the evening., Their was a whole portion of the show where they decided to do some James Brown material and I thought this guy did an outstanding job with the James Brown covers. To me James Brown is an artist that bands can only cover if they know what they are doing and their lead vocalist has the ability to hold the notes. It's basically the same thing if a band decided to cover Queen. James Brown wasn't the only artist the band decided t cover. Late in the set they perfomed Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer", off of the album So.

While they did perform some great covers Fishtrap did a bunch of originals, including songs off of the new album, entitled On Time. The songs from this album, included the title track, "Mason Jar", and "Fireproof". I talked to the band's trombone player, Zol Waterhouse, and he explained to me that, "this has been a project that's been going on for about ten years". It sounded to me, while talking to him that this was completely a side profect, and then one day they all decided to make it more than just a side project. What a great surprise combined with a familiar band, all wrapped up within one fantastic evening of music.

Whilst I like what I hear from the Band Of Heathens albums that I have, it's amazing that Mingo Fishtrap remain under the radar for most music lovers. I first saw/heard them on a Sandy Beaches Cruise, out of San Diego in 2008 (This is an annual event hosted by much more famous Texans, Delbert McClinton & Marcia Ball amongst others). Mingo Fishtrap are indeed regulars on this annual Cruise. So, since then I have acquired all their recorded material (studio & live) and this years release - On Time came very close to getting into my Top 10 of 2014. Roger Blevins Jnr., without doubt, is blessed with a superb soulful voice and is no mean guitar player, either. What you didn't tell was - it's normally his dad RB Snr on Bass Guitar. Oh how I wish they would visit and tour the UK, so I could catch them live again. Then again, I could save up my pension and try and either get to Austin or another Sandy Beaches Cruise.