On Tuesday night, Son Volt played an intimate show at the Black Sheep in Colorado Springs. The show marked the band’s third Colorado gig in four days, most recently coming from the Ride Festival in majestic Telluride.
Far from the box canyon walls, waterfalls and scenic vistas the sleepy mountain town is known for, the Black Sheep’s cinderblock walls, concrete floors and dive bar atmosphere created the perfect environment for rollicking Americana.
Eschewing showmanship for musicianship, Son Volt opened the show with a string of newer songs that leaned heavily on the band’s most recent album “Honky Tonk.”
Older songs like “The Picture” and “Highway and Cigarettes” from 2007’s “The Search” got the crowd singing along. “Hoping Machine” from “New Multitudes,” a project that found Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker and Jim James adding their own, unique flavor to unpublished Woody Guthrie lyrics, was a show stopper.
It’s hard to miss the indelible mark that Guthrie left on Farrar and, by proxy, Son Volt. Later in the set, the band ripped through “Bandages and Scars,” a pensive and socially conscious number that includes the memorable refrain “The words of Woody Guthrie ringing in my head.”
For the last 45 minutes and into the encore, Farrar and co. barely stopped for breath as they treated the crowd to favorites like “Drown,” “Highway 61,” “Tear Stained Eye” and “Windfall.”
A raucous rendition of Patsy Cline’s “Stop the World and Let Me Off” closed out the night on an uptempo note and sent the die hard crowd into the late summer evening.
Ryan Johnson is a Denver videographer, social media strategist and guitar player for hire. Contact him here.
Evan Semón is a Denver freelance writer and photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. See more of his work.