On Friday night, California band Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers brought their Loved Wild Lost tour to excited fans at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City. Delivering their style of sunny roots rock, they mixed older songs with new ones, keeping their set fresh and having the crowd wondering what they would play next.
Opening the show was Nashville based singer-songwriter Andrew Combs. With a full band behind him, Andrew delivered sincere songs with a Nashville rock twang. Heartfelt storytelling lyrics came alive with his band providing warm organ, steady drumming, solid bass, and occasionally explosive guitar riffs. Although many in the audience were unfamiliar with Andrew's music, they quickly warmed up to his style and approach, and the band received a much deserved applause at the end of their set.
There was a positive vibe flowing through the crowd as Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers took the stage. Noticeably absent from tonight's show was guitarist Tim Bluhm (Nicki's husband) who was out on the road with his band, The Mother Hips. Nevertheless, Nicki and the band played an exciting set of music that featured several songs from their new album, Loved Wild Lost, older tunes from their 2013 self-titled release, and some tasteful covers.
Dressed in a free flowing white gown, Nicki gracefully commanded the stage with a Stevie Nicks-like presence about her. She shined in the spotlight and wowed the audience with her vocal range and delivery. With a hippie soul and positive spirit, she kept the audience engaged and smiling throughout the night.
A lead singer is only as good as their band though, and The Gramblers pushed each song with styles ranging from Western country to '70s rock 'n' roll to late '60s psychedelic rock. Sporting his customary Merle Haggard cap, Deren Ney laid down energized guitar licks while Dave Mulligan provided smooth rhythm playing. Mike Curry was solid behind the drum kit, and Steve Adams' bass playing was strong.
There were many memorable moments throughout Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers' set. Midway through the show, the band gathered around a single microphone for a song, providing an intimate feeling. Their covers of Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody To Love" and Grateful Dead's "Deal" had the audience singing and dancing along, and showed the band's musical diversity.
Andrew Combs and his band joined Nicki and the boys onstage for a rousing version of "Ooh Las Vegas," which gave the concert a party-like feel. The surprises kept coming as Nicki brought out Infamous Stringdusters guitarist Andy Falco to join them on "Jetplane," which found Andy and Deren pushing each other with soaring guitar solos.
Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers will be travelling south on the East Coast continuing their tour before heading out to California for a few shows. If you have yet to check them out live, I strongly suggest you do so!
Pick up Andrew Combs 2015 LP All These Dreams on Amazon (CD).
Check out more pictures from the concert below.
ANDREW COMBS BAND AT BOWERY BALLROOM IN NYC 8.28.2015
NICKI BLUHM & THE GRAMBLERS AT BOWERY BALLROOM IN NYC 8.28.2015
For the latest music, news, and tour dates from Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, check out their Zumic artist page.