Blitzen Trapper have the ability to take fans on a wave of nostalgia — back to simpler times, when yelling “Free Bird” at a concert actually meant something. The Beachland Ballroom rode that wave to ’60s and ‘70s folk-rock last night, when the band tore through an hour-and-45-minute set that often played like a classic-rock compilation.
Nearly every song sounded like an audience favorite. Blitzen Trapper played ten of the dozen songs off their recently released Destroyer of the Void and more than half from 2008's Furr.
The band opened with “Fire & Fast Bullets,” and the crowd gave hearty, drunken shouts back as the first chords of familiar songs were struck. Onstage banter between drummer Brian Koch and guitarist Marty Marquis kept things personal, as they chatted about Drew Carey and the Great Lakes Brewing Company, among other Cleveland faves.
Halfway through the set, frontman Eric Earley was onstage by himself for four songs. He even played a brand-new song called “Taking It Easy Too Long.”
Not long after the solo set, the crowd heard what they came for: a full-band version of “Furr.” The extra instrumentation wasn’t complex, but it still made it all the more electrifying.
Blitzen Trapper ended their regular set with Furr's “Sleepytime in the Western World.” The song’s buildup was even more rocking, with a perfectly harmonized a cappella intro.
For the encore, the band took requests, playing the Neil Young-inspired “Not Your Lover” and the jam “Gold for Bread,” before ending with the popular “Wild Mountain Nation.” —Leanne Butkovic
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