Friday, March 4, 2011

Ryan Bingham at the Ogden 2/25/11

After the in-store at Twist & Shout, Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses greeted another packed house at the Ogden where their performance was anything but laconic. The Silent Comedy, who must have walked out of a turn-of-the-century ghost town, heated the stage. Their revivalist-gone-cabaret style cycloned the crowd into a frenzy as Liam Gerner, the young Australian singer-songwriter, and members of the Dead Horses joined them on stage and in-crowd for their last night on tour. Then, out came the unassuming Ryan Bingham crew. With the same humble greetings and down-cast eyes he presented at Twist, Bingham, now in cowboy boots and a vest, proceeded to rock the house.

The band played from all albums, but with the intensity and glow of performers who have figured out how their music plays live. The mellow tunes from Junky Star, including the most recognized “Hallelujah” and “Depression,” were delivered intensely and passionately and songs from the old albums, Roadhouse Sun and Mescalito, roared out from the stage. After a brief solo-performance where Bingham sang the long-awaited “The Weary Kind,” the band came back on stage to toast the Denver crowd and finish out their long and powerful set. Judging from the reactions of a few in-store folks who came to see Ryan Bingham with no idea who he was, the band surely had their share of converts and re-baptized those who have been following them since their dusty days in the southwest.

And maybe that was the greatest aspect of the show – how an incredibly diverse crowd that sprawled across age and social barriers – all heard something fresh and exhilarating. Before the show started, a cadre of cougars guarded their seats with the fierceness of den mothers, a few guys with shaved heads pushed each other around, and young men guarded their doe-eyed mates, in fear of the magnetic Bingham charisma. Watching all this, a security guard remarked, “Yup, there’ll be lots of fights tonight.” Yet, as everyone realized that this is a band that exceeds all expectations, that this is band that is made of “Bread and Water,” not just “The Weary Kind,” everyone finally settled in, beers were raised, whiskey slung, and the band took us all on a crazy ride.

- Lindsay Christopher

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