It’s been around for a while, and I’ve even visited a practice studio (thanks, Sam), but I’d never actually been into the rest of the Walnut Room until last night. It’s just so. far. away, up in the industrial/wannabe-chic condo/railroad part of Denver that I inevitably get lost in. But last night I finally made it up there to see Jolie Holland. And: wow.
We walked in just as the opener, Matt Bauer began playing. The audience was absolutely silent, to the point that the slight squeak of the door from the pizzeria into the venue was distracting. You could seriously whisper a drink order, and I imagine the bartender pre-filling cups with ice and pre-opening PBRs during between-song applause to avoid interrupting the music. And Mr. Bauer was lovely. A soft, rich voice, and the clearest banjo-playing. Sigh. Sigh. I loved the audience for being so respectful, and the music for commanding such attention. And the sound quality. I’m no connoisseur of acoustics, but I’ve never heard any as good as these in a venue of this size.
Then Jolie came in. She was not what I pictured at all — seemed just a little (sorry to say) stoner-ish. At first I thought it was just the girls dancing in front of me, who were better suited for a bluegrass festival than the Walnut Room (to each her own, right?), but no — I think Jolie might have been a little high. Which is all fine, but I think I expected a slightly macabre New Orleans belle. Nonetheless, her voice is incredible, the audience (again) respectful, and the show a good one. I also really liked the guy she played with, Grey Gersten — adorable and talented.
AND: it looks like my neighborhood will be getting its own little Walnut Room soon, though I think it’s not going to be a venue, just pizza.