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Band Review

BandName: Mingo Fishtrap
I went to see Mary Bridgette Davies at the Savannah Saturday night. MBD had cancelled but I’m actually glad they did. Instead I saw Mingo Fishtrap. They were great. Best live band I’ve seen in the Cleveland area yet. They were a large band with eight members but were so tight and polished they could turn on a dime. They are on tour out of Austin Texas. The name Mingo Fishtrap comes from the two street names at an intersection in Austin. If I had to characterize them I would say they were like Little Feat meats Chicago meets Earth, Wind, and Fire, meets Stevie Wonder, ect… Ok, it’s impossible to characterize them. I put a cd of theirs on TGV under rock. I’m not sure that’s really the right category for them but I’ll put them there for now. The cd doesn’t nearly do justice to their live performance but is still very good. I would listen to the song “Dirty Gritty” as the best representation of their live sound. They have a four piece horn section that is just great. Not only do they handle a variety of horn and auxiliary instruments but they have also completely choreographed their stage act. Their first song started out sounding like an orchestra tuning up. The lead singer/guitar player starts talking about how they are going to take us on a musical trip around the country. They break into this song where each revolution through they completely change the style. From Texas Blues to Southern California Latino to New Orleans Jazz to Chicago Breakdown, to New York Jazz and ect. When they broke into the New Orleans Jazz the horn sections left the stage and made their way around the audience in different directions. You heard wailing jazz lines coming from all around you.

Drums: The drums were high in the mix and deservedly so. The guy played only a three piece trap kit but he could have been three drummers. He played red sparkle hand made Ayotte drums. Wow they sounded great! He had two Ziligian crashes, a Ziligian ride and a splash and cowbell of unknown make. He was reported to have been raised by werewolves however I would suspect he was actually raised by Octopi. 

Guitar: The guitarist was also the lead singer. He was unstoppable as either. He played an Epiphone Elitist through a Fender Deville 4x10 and sounded awesome. I see a trade from my 2x12’s to the 4x10’s sometime in the near future. He also had a Morley wah, an Ibanez ts808 distortion pedal (the model preferred by Stevie Ray Vaughn), a Boss NS-2 noise suppressor, and a line 6 DL4 delay modeler. He had a white Stratocaster waiting in the wings as a backup. He didn’t stand out for many solos but when he did he was awesome. He was not limited by style as he seemed to be able tear it up on just about anything. His rhythm playing was full of colorful chords that fit the band perfectly.

Vocals: As good of a guitar player he is he’s an even better singer. I was amazed he could keep it up all night. Most people will put it out there for a song or two then arrange the set so they can coast for a few. Not this guy. He was belting it out every song. He has an amazing range covering everything from Albert King to Stevie Wonder. He’s definitely as good a vocalist as I’ve ever seen. As a part of his stage banter the Singer would always name the Artist or band and the date the song was written and usually a comment about how the band was influenced by the artist, where the group came from and something about their musical style. This banter often took place over the drum beat of the upcoming song which would start as soon as the banter stopped and the singer looked around at the band. He also had a thick Cajun sounding accent and was difficult to understand. It didn’t really matter as the accent was so interesting he could have been reading the phone book. The PA consisted of two Yorkville Unity PA speakers that were both massive and sounded great. I couldn’t see any more of the PA gear than that as the place was packed and visibility of the stage was not that great. He did the mixing from the stage on a full size board and did a great job of it. The entire band was mic’ed. 

Bass: The bass player played a beautiful Fender American Jazz Bass QMT through what looked like a SWR working pro 700 head and a Mark 2x10 cabinet with a horn. He played with the treble rolled way back as would be appropriate with a band that covers so much sonic territory. He is actually the Singers father but doesn’t really look much older than his son. He has popeye forearms which should give you some idea of the work out he puts his instrument through.

Keyboards: It was hard to se the make and model but it looked like he had a Korg with an Alesis sitting on top. He played through a Motion sound Pro 145 that sounded great. He had four staple sounds, Hammond B3, Fender Rhodes, Stevie Wonder funky clavinet, and piano. He also played a variety of interesting percussion samples and other sound effects kind of like Laurie does. He was a great player who deserved a great band.

1st Horn: His nickname was Peanut Butter. I don’t know why and I didn’t ask. He played Clarinet, Tenor and Alto Sax. The whole horn section was just unbelievable and he was no exception.

2nd Horn: He played Trombone, auxiliary percussion and handled backup vocals.

3rd Horn: He played Coronet, Trumpet, and Fugel Horn.

4th Horn: He played this gigantic bass Saxophone. It almost sounded like a tuba! Very cool.