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The Folk Road Show + River Rats
April 29, 2017 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Folk Road Show makes your living room feel like a theatre and a theatre feel like your living room. As the name suggests, the international group is anything but a conventional band and more a traveling folk variety show that could have been put together by PT Barnum and Bob Dylan, with Jack Kerouac consulting. Consisting of five singer-songwriters from three continents: Dominique Fricot (CAN), Benjamin James Caldwell (AUS), Olaf Caarls (NL), and Pieter van Vliet (NL) and Nick Petrowich (CAN) they’ve toured both Canada and Europe extensively taking roots-americana stylings of The Band and CSNY painting it with the youthful spirit of Fleet Foxes and Beirut.
At first listen, the band appears as a chamber folk vocal group, but each member has their own story to tell. Folk Road Show constantly rotates lead singers, showcasing each member’s while swapping instruments and supporting with soothing five-part harmonies. Slight tinkles of mandolin, woven with banjo and feathery acoustic guitars will suddenly be broken by a brash trombone blast, filling the room with energy. The show’s arc plays out more like a folk ballet than a traditional performance with storytelling transitioning to a cappella intermezzos twirling into full-band rock. Van Vliet’s mysterious, chilling tale of “Harbour” silences the room, setting the mood while Fricot’s “Something in the Water”, sprinkled with a South African flavour that hasn’t mingled with folk music since Paul Simon’s “Graceland”, will have you on your feet doing your best “Hey Mickey” clap-along.
From the depths of the Spree and its canals come the River Rats! They drag two guitars, double-bass and violin through the gloomy tunnels of Berlin to their moon-lit sessions. Influenced by the diminished lines of Django Reinhardt, the heart of the variété française and the spirit of old-time country and blues, the Rats wander between the ragged niches of Kreuzberg’s street jams and the glamorous grand theater. With members from Italy, France and Germany, the River Rats combine the north and the south, dark and light, contemplation and euphoria.