REVIEW: Trampled By Turtles at The Riverside Theater
It feels like just yesterday since I last I saw Trampled by Turtles play the Riverside, but for the life of me, I don’t remember a show like they’ve put on before on the night of January 12th, 2019. Trampled by Turtles are no stranger to Milwaukee or any of our venues and it seems like with every show they play someone tells one of their friends about the Bluegrass infused band. Playing their way across Wisconsin, Milwaukee was their last stop with other shows played in La Crosse, Wausau and Green Bay. But their love for Milwaukee was very apparent as they managed to fill up the entirety of The Riverside theater and it wasn’t long after that Trampled by Turtles took the stage. Much like their playing style of fast and furious bluegrass, the crowd was swept away in a whirlwind of sound.
The six-piece ensemble of a band who are unequivocally near the top of the bluegrass charts mastered their sound to the point of you being able to hear every plug of a banjo to every swipe of a violin. It wasn’t long before the band had the whole place booming with people clapping and stomping with them as they played their familiar yet fresh set list of songs. Fresh off their 8th studio album Life is Good on the Open Road TBT warmed the crowd up with a few hits off there. But shortly after getting the new stuff out of the way you could tell that the band was just as eager to play their older stuff that gained them a following.
Without missing a moment’s action Trampled by Turtles threw the already excited crowd into a frenzy when the opening of the violin to Wait So Long came on. I, having left my seat to grab a beverage, rushed back as I knew I wasn’t about to miss that song. Although I was in the nosebleeds of the third floor it was still amazing to me to see the audience standing the majority of the show. As this song started up people filled the aisles with joy as they were in for a treat. I feel that this was a turning point in the show as from then on, no one even thought of sitting down.
Playing their hits one after another with some fairly deep cut tracks thrown in there was a welcome balance to the set that seemed unrelenting in its momentum. I don’t think there was one point where I felt the need to catch my breath or sit down because of their musical talents to keep people on their feet is something that every band wishes they could have. I think the highlight of this show came in the form of a cover. Which typically I think is a good way to do an encore or as the penultimate song for the original set. Trampled by Turtles, however, makes Where is My Mind a staple in their set and the fans have come to expect it and love it. Albeit a fairly slower song it brings the crowd together because let’s be honest, how can you not sing along with the melancholia that comes along with it?
Trampled by Turtles never has failed to impress me. They are a master of their bluegrass style, and they aren’t afraid to shut up, play music and still make you feel like you’re a part of a catered experience.