John-Ross Boyce & His Troubles were the first to take the stage. The band is made up of John-Ross Boyce on lead guitar and lead vocals, James Barlow on bass and backup vocals, Ryan Moore on guitar, Angela Moore on violin and keyboard, and Dave Newlin on drums.
They refer to their music as “gutter country” but it encompasses so much more than that. They infuse their gritty sound with gospel, blues, soul, revival and rock, all saturated with that Rocky Mountain depression that only those who have fallen from the grace of the status quo know all too well. However, their music speaks of their willful rejection of that supposed salvation. They didn’t so much as fall from grace as knowingly jumped.
As with all the band's shows, Boyce started the set by stating, “My name is John-Ross Boyce and these are my troubles.” They then dove headfirst into “No Doctors, No Priests,” a song that seemingly accepts, if not celebrates, their poor life choices.
Once John-Ross Boyce & His Troubles’s set was over, Folk Hogan -- comprised of Moses McKinley on mandolin and vocals, Canyon Jack Elliott on accordion and vocals, Box on banjo and vocals, Jared Hayes on bass and vocals, Jeremy Adams on drums and Nick Passey on guitar and vocals -- took the stage.
Folk Hogan offered a much different sound than John-Ross Boyce & His Troubles.They describe their music as being part folk, part punk and part gypsy. Their songs are high-energy with often humorous lyrics that remind one of stories you made up as a child; they’re not 100 percent true but that’s what makes them fun. They may be slightly too silly for some people’s tastes but Folk Hogan doesn’t seem to care too much.
They began their set with “Band of Mighty Souls,” a song that tells the story of how the band was formed, though artistic liberties were obviously taken with the tale. The band plays with an intensity that is almost exhausting to watch. Elliott rocked out on his accordion while tossing his shoulder-length blond hair about in a way that would put punk rockers to shame. The motley crew played with heart and passion so invigorating, it reminds you why we go to live shows in the first place.