As the mythology goes, Trampled By Turtles formed as a side project by the band members in order to get a chance to play acoustic songs together. Now look at them! Featured in mainstream movies and on tour nationally! “The first year of existence of this band was also the last year of existence for our other bands,” the group notes on their site. Their songs are folk, yes, but somehow still untraditional – they have a real rawness and passion, translating into a sort of unplacable joy. The whole package is reminiscent of Bob Dylan’s Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 where the players (allegedly) weren’t allowed to use the instruments they were most comfortable with.
TBT set up at the KEXP stage, the five-piece standing side-by-side, holding violin, banjo, acoustic guitar, acoustic bass and mandolin. Believe it or not, some of the band members even had big beards!
The set started with a loud cheer from the “great audience,” as DJ Kevin Cole observed. Most apparent, instruments aside, were the band’s heavenly harmonies. It would be easy to believe that each and every audience member felt individually sung to today, held warmly by the tunes, each losing oneself in the band’s singing voices. Visually, the musicians were distinctly proficient and charming in their performances, impossible to focus on just one.
Ghostly violin riffs were cheered on by loud whistles from the crowd. The fast, rail-car feel of TBT’s songs livened up the music lounge in a way not yet seen today. And, yet, before each song you could hear a pin drop, the audience was so attentive for each pluck or strum of the strings. “Come wash me and keep me and take me away,” sang frontman Dave Simonett, working his acoustic guitar.
Trampled By Turtles, who play tonight again at 9:45PM, capped off their set with a thoughtful, tender tune. “You come into the world alone,” sang Simonett. “And you go out of the world alone. But in between there’s you and me.” Here, in between, at the KEXP music lounge with Trampled By Turtles, we were all somehow together. Thankfully.