Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
litzen Trapper has been at it for about 15 years running. While they may not have an especially high profile, that may be due more to the vagaries of the music business than a lack of effort and chops.
In reality, Blitzen Trapper has always operated at a high musical level with Springsteen and Dylan as obvious influences and incorporating indie folk and roots sounds and more.
Blitzen Trapper benefitted first and foremost from quality material starting with the title track of their brand new CD "Wild and Reckless," which was based on a stage production that the band worked on. Group leader and lead singer Eric Earley began with harp and a slower pace before his mates kicked in.
Blitzen Trapper is not a bad built on hits. Instead, it's the songs that mattered. That the band had in spades with songs that could stretch out to jam band status.
The Portland, Ore.-based quintet had a definite camaraderie from both a musical and band standpoint. There was a lot going on for the musically fluid group. While being a charismatic performer, Earley also happened to sing real well. He took a solo stint as well and continued being an engaging lead singer.
Lead guitarist Erik Menteer padded his sound with a chunk of slide and a whole lot of top notch playing. Keyboardist Marty Marquis also helped underpin the sound.
On the personal level, while Earley occupied center stage, there was an organic interplay where Marquis and Menteer had a few turns in yapping with the crowd (Marquis opted to talk about his favorite beer joint in the Portland area). Menteer acquitted himself just fine on lead vocals as well near the end of the show.
Blitzen Trapper demonstrated yet again that it is in a band that is in it for the long haul. Good thing because Blitzen Trapper is rightfully built to last.
Lilly Hiatt opened with a very good musically diverse set as well ranging from roots to country to rock. The Nashville resident displayed confidence in a winning set. Hiatt also enjoyed the chance to join the headliners during their reading of David Bowie's "It Ain't Easy."