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L.A. Beat

D-Rangers play wicked show of wild bluegrass rock

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Winnipeg bluegrass band  The D-Rangers  returned with a vengeance to the Slice, April 28.  Watching them grow and develop in Kenora/ Winnipeg  in the late ’90s and early 2000, they always captured my imagination as being The D-Rangers Jaxon Haldane and Aaron Goss. Photo by Richard Amerymore than a bluegrass band.

Aaron Goss’s crazed mandolin playing  inspired me to buy a mandolin. I didn’t know a mandolin could sound so— cool.

Their shows were always  crazy amalgamation of greasy, sweaty punk mixed with fleet fingered bluegrass chops mixed with rock and roll and a generous helping of assorted weirdness.

After a seven years hiatus including band members Jaxon Haldane going to Oklahoma to study and playing solo as well as accompanying Gordie Tentrees and mandolinist Aaron Goss, guitarist Chris Saywell going on to play with assorted hard rock and punk bands, muckbucket bassist Tom Fodey playing with dozens of Winnipeg bands and fiddle Don Zueff just being amazing, they have only got better with age.

Fodey’s muckbucket bass— a home made creation built of two by fours, rope and a plastic muck bucket immediately caught the eye and the ear, especially considering what a great, big resonant sound he got from it holding down a steady rhythm.

They played  a variety of songs from their new CD “Barbaric Cultural Practices ” including the exotic/ gypsy/ Cuban flavoured title track as well as  a solid Bluegrass version of Townes Van Zant’s “ Pancho and Lefty” as well as crowd favourites, as the audience, who made up for  their lack of numbers with tons of enthusiasm, remembered them from playing the Tongue N’ Groove years ago.
They dedicated one of my favourite D-Rangers’ songs, “Trois Rivieres” to George Arsene, who always plays it when he performs.

A good sized crowd ended up showing up but I expected the show to be standing room only.

The D Rangers never fail to please, there was plenty of finger-bleeding mandolin, banjo and guitar picking throughout and subtle fiddle, all of which  was showcased on a great cover of Del Shannon’s “Runaway.”
 The first big dose of weirdness, apart from the muckbucket bass, came courtesy of a wicked and wild cover of Devo’s “Are We Not Man? We Are Devo,” which showed how in tune the band members are with each other, nailing multiple time tempo changes of the song while giving it a bluegrass makeover.

Usually bluegrass bands are known for massive vocal harmonies, but Jaxon Haldane sang all of the  vocals while Zeuff and Fodey’s harmonies were a lot more subtle.

They ended their first set with an apt Bob Wills cover of “Stay All Night, Stay A Little longer,” which was when the crowd started to show up as the rest of the crowd did as the song bid.
A highlight of set two was Jaxon Haldane’s saw solo. I always love that bit, watching him wreak eerie theremin-like sounds out of a saw and a bow.
 “ Til the Knife Gets Hot,” was another highlight of the second set.

They wound down the show with a very cool bluegrass take on AC DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” before being called back for an encore which I hoped would include their incredible Dead Kennedys cover of “Too Drunk To Fuck.”. But I was denied. Next time.

I missed an opening set by Okay Mann, but caught most of an impressive set from Edmonton based roots/folk trio  Postscript featuring lead singer Steph Blais, who reminded me of Keri McTighe of Winnipeg roots quartet of Nathan, backed by upright bassist Paul Cournoyer and guitarist Brayden Treble.Postscript opening for The D Rangers. Photo by Richard Amery, L.a. beat Editor
 They played an upbeat set of twangy roots and folk music which immediately caressed the ears and captured the heart.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 May 2017 10:40 )  
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