“Hi. We’re Dave.”
The tiny quarters of the Larimer Lounge were packed from corner to corner on Sunday night, filled with fans of Minnesota’s favorite bearded men, Dave Simonett and Dave Carroll of Trampled By Turtles. The two-men-one-name show was nothing short of a treat to longtime followers, for the set list oozed classic Trampled yet channeled a once-in-a-lifetime chance among two greats.
Dusty Heart, Barbara Jean and Molly Dean, also of Minneapolis, lit up the stage prior to the boys. Two beauts with talent as deep as the ocean, the girls paired their ample vocal ranges with a fiddle and guitar. After only about an hour of charming the crowd, the darlings left them wanting more.
At about 9:30 p.m. the main act joined the party, causing a ruckus of giggles at their opening statement. Bringing with them their usual strings, Dave Carroll draped his banjo across his chest and Dave Simonett paired the guitar in his hands with a harmonica at his neck. The sold-out room knew exactly what it was getting into.
“On My Own” opened the night, which, accented by the lights strung along the ceiling, felt like the beginning of a summer show outdoors. The stereotypical-looking bluegrass crowd swayed back and forth to “Keys to Paradise” in their flannels and down jackets. Simonett announced they had spent the last week in the mountains, a factoid that came as no surprise to the folks who knew the two of them had hopped on stage last week with Greensky Bluegrass at the Ogden.
“November,” “Empire” and “Victory” fed the appetites of their fans. While the songs were as miraculous as their recordings, the intimate performance slowed down the typically quick tempo, causing the lyrics to lay heavier and deeper than usually expected.
During “Bloodshot Eyes,” Simonett wailed the lyrics “I went to the mountains / I thought it might help, I wrote some songs / but they were shitty as Hell” to a mass of cheers, pausing the lyrics to comically add, “they really were.” “Darkness and the Light,” “Help You” and “Midnight on the Interstate” entranced the audience, each track gaining more sing-a-longs than the last. Before “Shanandoah,” Simonett declared it was time to play a traditional song, which in his words meant a song “so old no one knows who to pay for it.”
I don’t think there could have been a better way to end our tour than right here with you,” Simonett stated about their We Are Dave tour.
After a few more songs, including “Codeine,” the two retreated for a break, returning shortly along with Dusty Heart. The four musicians gathered their places as Simonett explained their upcoming song. He recanted a story about a drummer, hired to do sessions with a mysterious band on an unknown track. As the drummer sat to begin, he heard Bob Dylan’s voice, and the moment brought him to tears. With that enchanting anecdote, the group went on to slay “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.”
After the single-track encore, they thanked the room as well as the state Colorado for their warm hospitality. Simonett announced his upcoming album as Dead Man Winter coming out, leaving hope to those who fear the impending gap from now until the next opportunity to see their Minnesotan magic.