Photo by Sue Paquet

Muddy Ruckus, the Pilgrims, and the Sun Parade performed live at the Stone Church in Brattleboro, VT on May 11 2019

I have spent a lot of time in Brattleboro at the Stone Church and have become quite comfortable there. The beautiful music hall, the comfy balcony, the super friendly staff, provide the perfect environment to enjoy local, regional, and national music. This night would provide all of these options in a few short hours.

We got there and the Pilgrims were already well into their set. I am glad that we got to see the last few songs, as the band is well worth a listen. On the larger side of the indie rock configuration, with drums, bass, at least two guitars, a keyboard player and vocalist, and a dedicated vocalist all rallied around what appeared to me to be original music. The vibe and songs reminded me of Portland Maine’s Dave Gutter and the band falls somewhere between Gutter’s Paranoid Social Club and his larger Rustic Overtones- a fleshed out and rock and roll orchestrated vehicle for the Pilgrims’ indie rock vision and songs. I dig it and wish I could have heard more.

Three songs, use the arrows to toggle between them.

After a short changeover, the band I was hoping to see took the stage, Maine’s Muddy Ruckus. The duo is Erika Stahl on drums and vocals and Ryan on guitar and vocals. The band uses elements of Delta Blues, the swamp, indie rock, and the creativity of their own minds to forge a sound that is distinctly their own. It would be easy to lump them in with more famous duo bands like the White Stripes or the 90s band duo the Flat Duo Jets, but that would deny their individual sound and distinctive vibe they have created.

The show opened with an extended instrumental that was reminiscent of the Doors’ The End. Muddy Ruckus are able to summon up an enormous amount of sound and energy using just a few tools to their fullest extent.

Next up for them is a single release show for their song Chasm on Friday, May 24th at Port City Music Hall in Portland, ME. Tickets are available at this link.

Set list: Wreck of the Hesperus, Footsteps, Naive Pilgrim, The River, Deadly Nightshade, Restless Ryder, The Spirits, Chasm, Brimstone, Mother Mud, Make Things Right, Alone in the Sun and the Rain (Woody Guthrie)

The crowd was thickest during their set, and you could tell that they had already won them over before they even started. They spun out a good dozen songs over the course of just under an hour. Most of the way through the set fiddle player Phil Bloch joined them onstage as a guest, and provided some melodic interludes and counterpoint to the rhythmic machine that the band is ordinarily. They ended the set with a cover by Woody Guthrie and the crowd was thrilled and called out for more.

Full show audio, use the arrows to toggle between the songs.

Muddy Ruckus is also the band spotlight here at LMNR right now, check out an extensive look at the history and music of the band.

The Sun Parade took the stage last. I had seen them, gosh- what seems like six years ago or maybe ten years- opening for Rustic Overtones at the Arts Block in Greenfield, MA. At that time they were an acoustic folk trio and this band that took the stage had little resemblance to the band I saw that night. This was a full fledged rock band spinning out folk inspired pop rock with a larger band and more intentional sound.

We stuck around for only two songs, as that day had been long for us already. The Sun Parade was only just getting warmed up so I’ll have to wait until the next time that I see them before I really can get to know their sound. But for folks seeking a post modern pop sound with a hipster vibe, the Sun Parade is at least worth a look for you.

Two songs, use the arrows to toggle between them.

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