Trampled By Turtles


Trampled by Turtles

-Performance Review by Diana Mumford

Charlottesville, Virginia: Trampled by Turtles were a long way from their hometown of Duluth Minnesota when they played at the Jefferson Theater downtown last week, but the band received a warm welcome from fans in the form of a sold out show. The September 9th show is a part of their current tour promoting their latest album, Wild Animals.

The show’s opener, Hurray for the Riff Raff, from New Orleans, awakened the crowd with their incredible chemistry and lead singer, Alynda Lee Segarra’s smoky voice. Segarra and the band’s honky-tonk sound soon had the audience on their feet, dancing. By the time Trampled by Turtles began its set, the venue was completely packed—there was barely any room for dancing, let alone breathing.

Trampled by Turtles took the stage and played as a backdrop of kaleidoscopic geometric shapes cascaded over the screen behind them.  The fast-paced songs gradually gave way to less frenetic pieces, and the lead singer, Dave Simonett, crooned his ballads illuminated by a projection of a full moon. Critics claim Wild Animals shows a softer side to the indie-folk/bluegrass band. After these quieter moments, the crowd shouted for old fast-paced favorites. The band acquiesced, and everyone in the audience sang along to Whiskey. “Whiskey, won’t you come and take my troubles?”

Perhaps better than their lyrics, the band is known primarily for its instrumental talent. Ryan Young, who plays the fiddle, is wonderfully matched with Erik Berry on the mandolin; fingers flying across their respective instruments. Tim Saxhaug on bass and Dave Carroll on banjo round out the band’s bluegrass sound. The ban’s relatable song lyrics and amazing instrumental riffs always draw large crowds, and the Jefferson Theatre was no exception.

Regardless of the band’s obvious musical talent, the slower tunes on Trampled by Turtles’ latest album show the band’s deliberate attempt at crafting songs with more poignant lyrics as opposed to engaging in a fast-paced instrumental spitting contest. The newly adopted woebegone melodies echo the album’s thematic focuses on vulnerability and loss. Wild Animals is an album bridging the gap between traditional folk-bluegrass and modern alternative influences, with down-tempo songs and ballads incorporating gospel and violins and including only a couple of their signature fast-paced songs fans have come to cherish.

When Trampled by Turtles left the stage, the crowd cheered for more. The band returned and performed a high-intensity version of Codeinea song more alive in person as opposed to the studio version. “Codeine, codeine, you’re the nicest thing I’ve seen for a while, for a while.” This song, a fan favorite, pumped the previously stock still audience with incredible energy, ending the show on a high note. The merchant tables, previously passed over upon entrance to the venue, was packed as the crowd began its exit en masse.  Want more Trampled by Turtles? Catch them live by checking out their tour dates or visit their official website.


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