Concert Buzz



The Top Hat (Missoula, MT)

October 22, 2011

1 out of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5

by missoulalive15

Being that I just started going to as many live musical acts as I
possibly can, and opening my mind to all new genres of music as well. I have learned one thing very quickly, and that one thing is never sleep on the opening act. One thing even more importantly is if the opening act is Polecat, the new age bluegrass jam band from Bellingham, WA that opened for Eric Tollefson this past Saturday night at the Top Hat, then let us all hope you are at least a quarter of the way ready for what is about to hit you.

Polecat came to Missoula let alone Montana for its first time this past Saturday (Oct. 22)opening for hometown college alumni and Missoula favorite Eric Tollefson, and what better place for a new band then Missoula at The Top Hat. They brought their bluegrass jams to a whole new level for the town, and the one thing I enjoyed about them the most is they replaced the usual bluegrass banjo with an electric guitar and an axe man by the name of Jeremy Elliot controlling the beast. This to me was the biggest of many factors that made them different and recognizable. Not taking anything away from any band member, it is just in the world of bluegrass, which many people all thinks can sound repetitive and the same, you need the x-factor, the wow, or the man did you just hear that. Watching the show Saturday I felt that the electric guitar gave them this, but it was also the fact that he jammed on it rock-n-roll style with the addition of your Celtic/Egyptian foot stomping blue grass. Aaron Guest, lead vocalists and twelve string acoustic, gives you the instant bluegrass feeling. His voice has the country twang you need and his energy on stage and moving around as well as the energy
he puts into playing his guitar can boast the crowd into dance mode. The
stand-up double bass keeps you grooving, played by Richard Reeves, and it was great to see Richard team up on the mic and perform a song showing of his vocal skills. Karl Olson was your drum man and one thing I have always thought is that to have a great live band and jam band
you need a constant high endurance talented drummer. Karl has no problem
checking off those criteria’s. Then there is the fiddler, Cayley Schmid, a blessing to look at and a dream to listen to play. She was as good as I have seen live when it comes to the fiddle. She brought a speed to it I have never scene, as well as sounds I also have never heard weather they had a Celtic Irish background, an almost Egyptian groove, or just pure folk Americana bluegrass.

The show was put on with one thing in mind to impress this town, these people, and western Montana. They played a magical cover of a Bela Fleck song, which was jammed through the roof as well as just a foolishly great cover of Men at Work’s “I Come from a Land Down Under”. Their original song “Lizard” and “Tell Me Show Me” really stuck out for me with its great jams. Watching Cayley on the fiddle and Jeremy on the electric having jam battles was instant head bobbing. So congrats Polecat you impressed the town with flying colors, the buzz
is here and will stay forever in this town.

If you love bluegrass go see Polecat you will be impressed with how they add rock-n-roll, jam rock, new age feel, and just great vibes to genre in bluegrass that is looking for something new and maybe Polecat is that something new. I know one thing for sure Missoula wants them back already. Well played Polecat, well played.


This review is the subjective opinion of the individual reviewer and not of ConcertBuzz

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Rating: 2.0/5 (46 votes cast)

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