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Banshee Tree mixes styles to great effect

With a flurry of guitar riffs, drum smashes and notes from bass and fiddle players, Banshee Tree lit up the stage at The Colorado Room Friday night. Part of the FoCoMX performances from local bands continuing through the weekend, Banshee Tree electrified the crowd with a non-stop barrage of groovy R&B mixed with a healthy dose of funk.

“I was seriously impressed by the lead guitar player,” said event attendee Jason Miller. “I’ve seen a lot of shows here, … but this one has been one of my favorites. To be honest I’m shocked I’ve never heard of (Banshee Tree) before.”

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The lead guitarist Thom LaFond certainly did impress with a near non-stop hail of notes in a signature warbly tone that led the ensemble but didn’t overpower it or drown out the other players.

Drummer Michelle Pietrafitta was arguably the star of the show, providing constant and consistent musical cohesion that formed the bedrock on which the other instruments were able to come to light, giving bass player Jason Bertone the position he needed to provide a thumping, driving bassline behind the overall composition.

I’ve seen a lot of shows here … but this one has been one of my favorites.” – Jason Miller, audience member.

“That solo the drummer did … was really impressive,” Miller said. “I feel like she was really putting a lot of energy into what she was playing.”

It was disappointing not hearing violin and fiddle player Nick Carter very much.

At one point, there seemed to be a technical malfunction, and his contribution became washed out under the absolute might of the other instruments, even though it was obvious he was playing hard in an attempt to be heard. His contribution would have added an interesting dynamic to the performance that would have done much to set apart their performance from the dozens of other similar performances in swing throughout the evening.

Furthermore, there was a noticeable repetition between the different songs performed.

While all were good, there were the expected songs about long dusty roads, women who had left and whiskey, all belted out in ballad form. It would have been more exciting to see some originality shine through, especially with the clear musical ability of the band. With such an energizing and cohesive group of musicians, it’s clear to see where they could set themselves apart from the waves of similar bands by diversifying their sound and the contents of their lyrics.

However, this didn’t make the performance unenjoyable in any way.

Banshee Tree was an utterly exciting band to see perform live, effortlessly blending rock, blues and funk into a cohesive package. Even in the cold, rainy and dreary conditions in which they played, Banshee Tree kept the energy in the crowd high, putting a smile on the faces of concert-goers.

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Walker Discoe can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @wdiscoe. 

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