Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers at the Fox Theatre
Nicki and her band’s brand of vintage-hued rock, country and soul embodies a nostalgic feeling that also sounds new. They put on a stellar show last week at the Fox that made for one enjoyable evening.
Perhaps the familiar feeling comes from the band’s relationships. Nicki’s spouse Tim Bluhm (keyboards/vocals/guitar) is a seasoned musician as the founder of bay-area favorite The Mother Hips. Band members Steve Adams (ALO) on bass, Dave Mulligan (rhythm guitar) and Mike Curry (drums) all seemed synchronized and relaxed. Additionally, the fact that Nicki and guitar player Deren Ney have known each other since their early days in grade school lends a certain comfort level. Or maybe it’s because while driving across the country they play some fun acoustic covers in their “van sessions” that have blossomed into an internet sensation. Whatever the ingredients, this group seems like a favorite old vinyl record that all of a sudden sounds really cool again.
Nicki & Co played a mix of songs from last year’s Driftwood”, in addition to new songs from a forthcoming 2013 release. They also covered songs like Rolling Stones’ “Tumbling Dice” and Linda Ronstadt’s “ Your’e No Good” that inspired the audience to dance and sing along. Nicki’s vocals ranged from warm and mellow to soul-bearing highs and everything in between.
My favorite part of the night came when the band played some of their van session songs in the lobby of The Fox Theatre at the end of the show. It lent a decidedly fun, low-tech and purely acoustic feel to the evening. Most people I saw leaving were smiling from ear to ear.
Oakland, CA favorites Tumbleweed Wanderers opened and also played acoustically in front of The Fox at the end of the night. Joining them as openers were Finders and Youngberg ( from Ft. Collins, CO) and Jonathan Russell from The Head and The Heart. The Tumbleweed Wanderers really shined in their set as band that sounded older than they are, a familiar theme of the night as new blended with vintage acoustic sounds.
From the most recent tour listings, it seems like The Gramblers are cultivating a following that is about to explode. Check out their website for more upcoming show information.
Photos and review by Kirsten Cohen at Sonic Goddess. Show on 08/31/12.