Trampled by Turtles fulfills fall concert hopes

On Friday, Nov. 9, at 8 p.m., Trampled by Turtles, with opener Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles, took the stage at St. Olaf for the Music Entertainment Committee’s Fall Concert. Both Lucy Michelle and Trampled by Turtles TBT brought a lively and energetic performance to the Pause.

Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles was a fun group that energized the crowd for TBT. The band played with a variety of instruments including electric bass, cello, accordion and bells, which added texture to the songs. The lead singer, Michelle, had a wide vocal range that fit well with the instrumentals. The band roused the crowd to get excited for Trampled by Turtles. Before the group even took the stage, the crowd had already began to chant “TBT.”

The band hails from Duluth, Minn. and includes lead singer and guitarist Dave Simonett, flying-fingers fiddler Ryan Young, steady bassist Tim Saxhaug, snappy mandolinist Erik Berry and talented banjo player Dave Carroll.

TBT mixed furiously fast songs with harmonious, softer beats. During the wild songs, the only downside was trying to bob your head fast enough to the beat. Just when you thought the band could go no faster, it sped up a notch. During slower songs, the sliding chords made you shiver with the blending.

The band played most of its songs from its newest album, Stars and Satellites, which came out this year, but featured songs from previous albums Palomino and Duluth as well. TBT started a world tour the day after performing at St. Olaf.

The hit “Wait So Long” was a tilting, out-of-rhythm jive with vocals trying to keep a steady beat as the instruments continuously forged ahead. The song made the audience want to jump along, but constant speeding up made it difficult. The song was enjoyable to listen to live and was one of the crowd’s favorites.

In “Alone,” the sliding and distorted chords blended well. The vocals were a smooth twang fitting the band’s bluegrass style. It was a thought-provoking song that was nice to calm down to between the other fast and furious songs. It started out quiet and built up, adding voices and instruments for a full sound.

The banjo soloed and set the pace in “Sounds Like a Movie,” a song in which the tempo of the melody kept getting faster and faster without stopping. Carroll always managed to take it a notch faster, and all the other musicians were forced to follow, performing their complex counter-melodies flawlessly.

“Shenandoah” from TBT’s first album, Duluth, was a swaying song that had a catchy tune, like “Midnight on the Interstate,” which made the audience focus on the rich tones of the instruments and Simonett’s vocals.

All the musicians were really entertaining to watch, especially the violinist who managed to play many of his fast licks bent over with his violin upside down. The mastery of his fingers and bow were amazing. His violin was covered with rosin by the end of the night, which is a tribute to how fast his bow was bouncing and slurring. He showed a true mastery of the instrument that was exciting to watch.

TBT played a significant amount of the songs in its repertoire in what was a memorable night of music. The band was even called back for a few encore songs.

“I am very satisfied with the student turnout and the sheer quality of the performance,” MEC Coordinator Ryan Peterson ’14 said.

There is no denying that both Trampled by Turtles and Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles are not only talented musicians, but also exceptional performers.