Show: Tin Horn Prayer, Nathan Maxwell & The Original Bunny Gang, Minor Note Orchestra, Champagne Charlie
Venue: 3 Kings Tavern
Date: January 14th, 2012
Champagne Charlie finds its niche somewhere amongst the aggressive debauchery of Gogol Bordello, the ivory-tinkling bawdiness of Tom Waits and the sleazy theatricality of cabaret. Opening up the evening at 3 Kings, the youngest band of the four certainly did not lack in musicianship or stage presence. The majority of the members are multi-instrumentalists (a theme repeated throughout much of the night) and I think even the stomping boot heels of glass-throated singer Ryan King could count as percussion.
Minor Note Orchestra
Up next were 3 Kings house-band and Denver crime jazz progenitors, Minor Note Orchestra. Keeping the vibe a bit smoother than the previous act, there was still no lack of energy emanating from a stage that this band owns and knows like few others in town. MNO effortlessly wove their way through an array of instrumental originals that feature tight melodies and intricate solos; peppering their set occasionally with some sultry standards sung by featured vocalist Crystal Lassiter and tenor/baritone sax player, “Hot” Mont Brown.
Nathan Maxwell & The Original Bunny Gang
While Nathan Maxwell is most well-known as the bassist for Flogging Molly, his latest project, The Original Bunny Gang, calls Colorado its home. Although their first album leaned heavily toward a reggae-ish sound, the Bunny Gang have evolved past genre into something much more fluid and harder to define and played a set that relied heavily on new material. Maxwell has surrounded himself with phenomenal musicians, including his father, maxwellvision, behind the kit, and the band had the dance floor moving with infectious grooves and monstrous rhythm while Nathan’s smooth voice soared over top.
Tin Horn Prayer
Despite being the last band of the night, Tin Horn Prayer launched into their set at the behest of a still-sizable and enthusiastic crowd. The band also played a sizable amount of songs from an upcoming album and, despite the tunes being relatively unknown, had the floor whipped into a frenzy. When the band did play songs off of their debut, Get Busy Dying, the crowd’s voices could almost beat the orchestrated cacophony coming from the six, sweat-soaked members of the band. The band closed with “Wretch”, during which the hymnal nature of the song was only amplified by the swaying crowd. Since, according to the shambling masses, not enough music had been played by 1:30am, Tin Horn Prayer directly launched into “Crime Scene Clean-up Team” as an encore and it seemed possible that the stomping from the audience would level the stage.
Follow: @tinhornprayer @nathenmaxwell