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April 21, 2012 | 11:19 a.m. CST
Reelfoot is a local fan favorite. The band pays respect to its jam-band forebears while also retaining its own sound. Photographs by Timmy Huynh
Jam bands and 4/20 go together like taco fillings inside a nacho cheese Doritos shell, so it’s no wonder that local favorite, Reelfoot, was a perfect fit to headline a show at The Bridge Friday night.
The band took the stage around 10:15 p.m. and started their show with “Just Ask” followed by “Pride,” “Where the Funk Are You?” and “Above the Surface.” Just before the set break, they covered the Phish song, “Maze.”
It’s not the first time the band has been called upon to play at The Bridge. Their last show was a sold-out Halloween party. The audience last night was just about as big.
As the crowd of 18 to 70 year olds began to pile into the venue, they joined the early arrivals in dancing in front of the green laser light show. A few devoted fans claimed their spot by the stage, while others hula hooped as far back as the lobby.
The size of the audience became apparent during intermission when walking outside to the crowded patio where everyone had migrated to smoke. Friends and strangers mingled as they waited for the band to return to the stage.
Around 11:20 p.m., the band began its second set with “Crazy Jim” and debuted two well-received songs, “On the Other Side” and “Flatirons,” to their fans.
The vocals were shared among keyboardist Ted Paletta, guitarist Andrew Allen and bassist Jamie Brungard with the occasional harmony, each member adding his own ingredient to the lyrics.
Although most songs included minute-long solos, each song maintained its own sound with elements of progressive rock, psychedelic rock, funk, jazz and bluegrass contributing to the music.
Their set seemed to take the audience through the decades, starting with a tribute to the grandfathers of jam, the Grateful Dead, and moving into elements of Phish, Umphrey’s McGee and String Cheese Incident. But their sound is still distinct despite their obvious respect for their predecessors. They’ve taken what these bands have done and branched off from it in hopes of adding a new relevance to the style.
To switch things up a bit up, the band covered a bluegrass song, and they ended their set with “Bangarang.”
But the crowed wanted more, and it didn’t take long for the four-piece to hop back on stage for their encore set. A few friends joined the band for special appearances on covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times” and Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion.” Even drummer Sam Niehaus made a first-time vocal appearance on the finale.
Now that Paletta has completed his degree, Reelfoot plans to put together a cross-country tour after finishing its next record, a concept album currently in the works. But they don’t plan to abandon their fan base in Columbia or the local musicians with whom they frequently collaborate. “I really enjoy feeding off the relationships we have with the other bands we play with,” says Paletta. “We are all mutually supportive.”
After closing their tabs and tipping their bartenders, the crowd began to disperse, some to continue the festivities elsewhere with fellow concertgoers and others back to their homes, but everyone feeling just a little bit funkier.