Horizons of Rock are Developing Everywhere. And as if to prove
that fact, the third annual H.O.R.D.E. festival moved through
Denver, appearing at Fiddler's Green Aug. 7.
The nomadic tribe brought home locals Big Head Todd and the
Monsters, Samples lead singer Sean Kelly and Blues Traveler.
Even though Blues Traveler doesn't call Boulder home, the group
seems to hit Colorado almost as often as New York. In addition to Big Head
Todd, Kelly and Blues Traveler, the H.O.R.D.E. tour brought reggae man
Jimmy Cliff, the Freddy Jones Band, Sheryl Crow, The Warren Haynes Band,
the Mother Hips and Cycomotogoat to the Mile High City.
Mondo, meet Gonzo
This year the tour took on a Lollapalooza-style side stage, dubbed the
"Gonzo' stage. Shows there and on the main, or "Mondo"
stage. didn't overlap, so the true music lover could sprint back and forth
and keep up with all the action. The day's first three bands were
Cycomotogoat, the Freddy Jones Band and Mother Hips, all crowd pleasers.
Next up was Samples lead singer Sean Kelly and his faithful
In addition to playing old favorites like "Nature" and
"Little Silver Ring," Kelly gave the audience a taste of the
band's new album, Autopilot, scheduled to be released Sept. 13.
The Samples will debut the album with a show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on
Saturday, Aug. 27.
The Ugly Americans was up next on the Gonzo stage - and they're not ugly.
The Americans were the biggest suprise of the festival. Their high-energy
music was the highlight of the day.
The only band on the tour not signed to a record label, the Americans
won't stay that way for long. Soon after they took the stage, the crowd
started jumping. The wild antics of lead singer Bob Schneider and the
Austin band's funky sound penetrate your soul.
The Ugly Americans got a little help from their friends: Sherry Jackson
lent her voice for a couple of tunes and Allman Brothers guitarist Warren
Haynes added accompaniment on another song.
The reggae stylings of Jamaican legend Jimmy Cliff added a splash of
variety in the midst of an all-rock lineup. He performed songs with
statements, such as "Vietnam," and cheerier songs including
The Allman Brothers normally grace the top spot on the tour but in Denver,
guitarist Haynes took the spotlight for himself. The Haynes band is
heavier and more rugged than Haynes' efforts with the Allmans, but
whenever Haynes picks up a guitar, you know what you hear won't suck.
Big Head Todd and the Monsters took the stage as the sun set slowly behind
the Fiddler's Green wall. The band played tunes off its more recent
albums, including the soulful "Vincent of Jersey" from
Midnight Radio. It also played material from its new album
Strategem, set for a late September release.
After guitarist Todd Mohr struck his final chord, half of the sold-out
crowed rushed to the Gonzo stage to catch Sheryl Crow. The front row was
the most crowded it'd been all day.
Crow adds a bluesy, country-like feel to her music, and in her
performance, she's cool as ice.
The climax of the show was Blues Traveler.
Although lead vocalist John Popper was fighting a virus, Blues Traveler
played a full set of energy-filled songs, including several covers. The
bands' set included several Native American singers and another guest
appearance by Haynes for a lengthy rendition of "Gloria." They
also played material from their new album, four.