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Strangefolk & Magic Theater

The Brick Works Wednesday, November 7th

Being that Chico is the small town that it is, I ended up knowing Damir, the Bosnian raised drummer of Magic Theater, whom I ran into upon my arrival at the show. The local openers of the evening have been together for about one and half years and combine many different sounds into their set. Joe Chamberlin's lead vocals are backed up by: his own lead guitar, a rhythm guitarist, Jason on bass guitar, Gravy on a didgeridoo and Winter horning a flute. When it all came together, the music was a sort of bluesy, folksy, tribal rock that I really had never heard before. In all I honesty, Magic Theater's nine-song set was simply beautiful and if you hear of an upcoming performance, I suggest you catch them.

What started out as a small energetic crowd, turned into a rather large energetic crowd when Vermont's Strangefolk took the stage. When talking to random people in the audience, I learned just how big this band actually is. It's surprising how I could never have heard of a band until they came to Chico, then I come to find out that they have followers of all ages and walks of life from all over the country. One couple had seen and loved them back in Vermont around 1993. Strangefolk even had their own groupie; a young woman who had seen them near Santa Rosa the night before and had come to Chico just to see them for a second night in a row. The blue grass energy consumed me as fans danced and screamed in every available corner of The Brick Works. . For their first hour they played such crowd favorites as "Sinner," "House of Pearl" and "Happy," then took a twenty-minute break for people to relax. In the second part of the show, Strangefolk played for nearly two hours, sometimes performing new songs like "Escalator" and sometimes simply jamming for 20 minutes straight. Their highlight was most certainly the close of the show, a folksy-rock cover of "Electric Avenue" that somehow found a way to make the audience even crazier. Their new album, Open Road gives the listener an amazing blend of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and of course, The Grateful Dead; you should be able to find it at your nearest music store. When I interviewed Luke Montgomery (nicknamed, "Patchen"), one of Strangefolk's three lead singers, I asked him to give me an honest quote directed entirely at the readers of this review or potential listeners. He replied, "Come to a show, be yourself, and have fun." I couldn't agree more.

By Andy Harvey
The Synthesis
Nov 12, 2001


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