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L.A. Beat

Way Down Wanderers show young pups can shred bluegrass style

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Chicago/Peoria based bluegrass/folk quintet the Way Down Wanders are a group of fresh faced youth who are so talented you just want to smack them.

They made an auspicious debut at the Slice, June 28 playing their own brand of mutant bluegrass music The Way Down Wanderers at the slice, June 28. photo by Richard Amerywhich sounded like the D Rangers on speed— sorry the D-Rangers are the D-Rangers on speed, but mixed elements of pop and folk which sounded like a blend of Blind Melon and Birds of Chicago, thanks to the pleasing tenors of vocalist guitarist Austin Thompson and vocalist Collin  Krause, who was doing triple duty on vocals, harmony vocals as well as on mandolin and fiddle, often within the same song.

Krause joked the band’s first  trip to Canada (The Lethbridge show was only their second Canadian show ever) was the first time he was allowed to drink legally.

And I believed him though he punctuated that comment with a laugh. He played both fiddle and mandolin with virtuosity belying his young years.

 They mostly  played  original material, but also put their own twist on Tom Petty’s American Girl, which gave  each band member  an opportunity to show off their substantial instrumental chops.

 Travis Kowalsky played impressive banjo, while drummer John Merikoski was just as impressive on the spoons, as his fingers were a blur during a couple songs, including an acoustic version of Blind Melon’s  ’90s hit “No Rain,” which there performed in the middle of a surprisingly strong and very enthusiastic Wednesday night audience.

And upright bassist John Williams ably held everything together. They were impressive. Krause and Thompson’s vocals melded together beautifully giving the band a huge vocal sound.

— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 05 July 2017 22:45 )  
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