Strange Blues Rock The Capitol Theatre

A Thanksgiving tradition has been born at The Capitol Theatre with Strangefolk’s return to the classic venue. This time the group played for two nights alongside Blues Traveler, leading to collaboration between the two each night, not to mention memorable sets of their own. Friday proved to have a good turnout, keeping the adjacent Garcia’s filled before and after the show, and found Jon Trafton sitting in with Blues Traveler.

A two hour set of crowd favorites including an upbeat “Rachel”, an always beautiful and welcome “Speculator”, and a lengthy “Faces” and “Alaska” made for an excellent start to the weekend. Strangefolk played patiently and effortlessly, focused on taking these songs casually out into improvisation. The incredibly vibrant projections pleasantly distracted the audience from the view on the stage. Peter Shapiro, owner of The Cap, initially wanted Strangefolk to play the re-opening weekend back in November 2011, as reported by Jambands.com, but the band would ultimately reunite five months later at Brooklyn Bowl, also owned by Shapiro. It looks like Strangefolk fans can make plans for 2014 and enjoy an early holiday treat.

Setlist: Poland, Sometimes, Rachel, Rather Go Fishin, Sinner, Chasing Away, Speculator, Faces, Blue&Grey, Stout Hearted Man, Furnace, Alaska, Roads

Blues Traveler came out and the audience crowded the front row, packing in nicely to see John Popper look skyward with eyes closed as he belted out song after song. And if he wasn’t singing, he was digging through his various harmonicas for the right tone for the song or regular solo. That or drinking a variation from four separate solo cups on his harmonica table. Inside – a variety of drinks that he selected from methodically. A performance at the Cap allows a better and closer view for nearly all on the floor, bringing the band seemingly closer to the audience. During “Mountains Win Again”, Popper danced around lightly while the Tad Kinchla’s bass and Chan Kinchla’s guitar stretched the tune out. While Popper played harmonica, a casual observer might thought he spent this song taking small bites from his microphone at breakneck speed; Popper is a site to see tear into a harmonica.

Long jams on newer and older tunes ensued, with few breaks in between. A Ben Wilson keyboard jam led into “Run Around”, followed by Popper inviting Strangefolk’s Trafton to play guitar on “Mulling it Over”, where Trafton and Chan dueled and mutually shredded.  His brother, Tad, tore through “What I Got”, before a segue into a drums segment and finally, “Hook”. A short “La Grange” encore, sung by Wilson, capped the night at the Cap.