Two Cow Garage at 3 Kings Tavern

Two Cow Garage at 3 Kings Tavern

Two Cow Garage w/Colder Than Fargo, Raleigh, Six Months to Live and Jon Snodgrass
Friday, February 20th, 2009
3 Kings Tavern, Denver
Better Than:
A five band bill has any right to be.

Colder Than Fargo opened this show on a snowy, icy night with its brand of warm, sentimentally-tinged music, part Americana, part experimental rock and part power pop. The set was a little loose and yet I'm not sure I've seen the band play with such ease and confidence. On this night, the outfit displayed a strong talent for setting a mood as well as building to electrifying and emotionally sweeping passages of song rife with imagery pulled straight from the people and places around us.

Two Cow Garage at 3 Kings Tavern

Raleigh hasn't played in a while, and this line-up looked all new except

for the singer/bass player. This band was always good, but for this show

it seemed as though that instead of frustrated emotions and desperation

being an aspect of the music, it was plugged directly into it, and the

result was a shockingly powerful reinvention of the band, including

great new versions of "Hollywood, Florida" and "Come Back."

Two Cow Garage at 3 Kings Tavern

Six Months to Live used to make me think, "If only!" because the last

time I saw them they were probably the worst band I'd seen in a long

time. Fortunately, this act has evolved into a solid power pop group with a

refreshingly playful and energetic stage presence. Sure, there was a

bit of that '70s rock thing in the sound, but think the Raspberries and

not Led Zeppelin. Six Months closed its set with a killer cover of

"Starman" by David Bowie.

Two Cow Garage at 3 Kings Tavern

I can't lie and say I've ever been a fan of Drag the River. But one

thing about that band that cannot be denied is Jon Snodgrass's earnestly

great voice. On this night, although he performed alone with just an acoustic guitar, his

charisma and clear confidence on stage made supporting players

irrelevant. He played almost entirely requests from the audience who

returned the favor by singing along and the set included classics like

"Graces" and a rare live performance of "Jessica's Suicide."

Two Cow Garage at 3 Kings Tavern

After his set was over, Snodgrass stayed on stage where he was joined by

Two Cow Garage for the first two song of that band's set including an incredibly spot on, raucous,

worthy-of-the-original-band cover of "Can't Hardly Wait" by the

Replacements. Snodgrass and the guys in Two Cow Garage jumped into

the song and it felt like what I imagined what it must have been like

to see the Replacements in their heyday.

After Snodgrass left the stage for the first time, the three members of

Two Cow Garage laid down one great, country-flavored rock and roll song

after another. This was not a show for contemplative music and yet each

song seemed to have devastatingly thoughtful lyrics. Two Cow Garage is not

a punk rock band but the band laid into the music as though it was. Even

as the set crossed the 1:30 a.m. mark, the audience demanded and got an

encore that concluded with Snodgrass joining the band on stage for a

soulful cover of "I Shall Be Released" by Bob Dylan done in the style

of Procul Harum.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I'm a longtime Colder Than Fargo fan and a recent convert to Two Cow Garage.

Random Detail: Ethan from Blue Million Miles paid my cover even though

I was pretty much on the guest list. Never hurts for the bands to get

some more money, right?

By the Way: Suburban Home Records put out the latest Two Cow Garage record, Speaking in Cursive.

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