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No one would’ve been able to tell it was snowing when Hot Buttered Rum came to the Fox. The formerly all-acoustic string band, which now includes percussion, heated up the excited crowd and treated them to a three hour long set list.
Hot Buttered Rum took the stage after a brief intermission following Mountain Standard Time’s opening set. The band was welcomed to an enthusiastic crowd.
Hot Buttered Rum was initially formed as a string band, but has added an asset: Matt Butler on drums, percussion and vocals. Unlike most bands, HBR has no front man; instead, they all share vocals on songs, and all take turns showing off their stuff.
With Aaron Redner on fiddle, acoustic and electric mandolin, Bryan Horne on double bass, Erik Yates on banjo, guitar, and woodwind, Nat Keefe on guitar, and Butler (percussion), HBR packs a powerhouse of string and vocal harmonies on top of a steady percussion and rambling melodies.
Hot Buttered Rum is no stranger to Boulder, having played the Boulder Theatre and the Fox Theatre within the last year. Patricia Lomas, a 21-year-old studio arts major said she has seen them three times before.
“My favorite show was at the Boulder Theatre,” Lomas said. “It wasn’t as crowded, so I could dance.”
Lomas didn’t want to expect any of her favorite songs to be played.
“I kinda like the surprise. Every set is unique,” Lomas said.
HBR released their fifth studio album, “Limbs Akimbo” on Sept. 8. Produced by Tim Bluhm, “Limbs Akimbo” pulls in sounds from early Hot Buttered Rum while throwing in a taste of pop rock, driven by a drum-laden left-coast sound.
The album’s title track, “Limbs Akimbo,” got the crowd participating with the band. “Arms outstretched, limbs akimbo,” invited everyone to live by the carpe diem mantra, live life to the fullest and live life every day.
One fan, Jeff Neahls, a 24-year-old Boulder native, had also seen HBR before in Tacoma, Wash. He said he liked the Fox as a venue better.
“They’re great here. I love the atmosphere, the general enjoyment of the masses,” Neahls said.
Neahls’ friend, Kevin McCuley, a 24-year-old CU Boulder alumni wanted to hear his favorite song.
“I really hope they play the Elephant Hunting Song,” said McCuley. However, his wish wasn’t granted.
With great chemistry, HBR played “Busted in Utah,” “Desert Rat” and “Lighten up Your Load,” along with other dance inducing numbers. For the better portion of the night, there wasn’t anyone inside the Fox who wasn’t at least bobbing their head to the music.
As evidence from the audience showed, Hot Buttered Rum always produces a dynamic live performance. Dale Baum, a 20-year-old junior and economics major said he saw the band last year at the Fox.
“Their sound is so awesome,” Baum said. “I’m really psyched to be here and see them again.”
Prior to Hot Buttered Rum’s set was Mountain Standard Time’s chance to shine. The nearby Nederland band took the stage promptly at 9 p.m. with bottles of Sierra Nevada in hand.
Blue lights set the mood for the bluegrass/funk band, fronted by Stanton Sutton on guitar, mandolin and vocals. The band also included Adam Pause on banjo and vocals, Jeff “Curly Collins” Shroeder on bass and vocals, Nick Dunbar on mandolin and vocals, Kyle Stersic on alto sax and electric clarinet, and Cody Wales on percussion. These musicians and their instruments made for sounds ranging from bluegrass, to funk and jazz and a dash of reggae.
Fans ages 16 to 60 began to trickle onto the dance floor and by the end of MST’s first 15-minute jam, the dance floor was full. It seemed as the players picked up the tempo, the crowd picked up in size.
The banjo and mandolin made for unique, beautiful harmonies that lead into rambling bluegrass jams, at times making the banjoist’s fingers seem blurry; they were picking the strings so fast.
Towards the middle of their set, MST invited a friend onstage who had an over-sized, lit-up hula-hoop in tow. The jams became more mesmerizing as the girl seamlessly wove in and out of the rings, looking as if all she cared about was dancing to the music.
As the entire crowd danced, Sutton and company sang in raw harmony, “From now on I’m just living for today,” encouraging the crowd to do the same.
The final word from MST came from banjoist, Adam Pause, telling the crowd, “Those guys will keep you warm,” referring to the headlining act.
Hot Buttered Rum and Mountain Standard Time managed to deliver a seamless concert of the highest quality.
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Taylor Coughlin at Taylor.email@example.com.