Leftover Salmon are making their way though a short but very special acoustic set tour, dubbed The Acoustic Living Room Tour, and this past Saturday night it brought them to the beautiful space of Infinity Hall in Hartford, CT.
Of course, when one thinks of an acoustic set, they might hear or picture coffeeshop melodies made for bedtime. That doesn’t really speak true of a Leftover Salmon acoustic set, which turns out are just as energized and rousing as their electric shows. By the time the band was cranking through “Carnival Time” for song three, the four hundred or so patrons were burning up Infinity Hall’s floor, matching the band’s vigor step for step. “Down in the Hollow” started to get things even crazier, and Erik Deutsch took his first absurdly incredible solo of the night here, a chromatic banger that incited hoots and hollers all around.
Coming next was an extra gorgeous version of Drew Emmitt’s “Light Behind The Rain.” Normally a more amped up jam, tonight it got extra jazzy, almost funk-beat treatment from the rhythm section of Greg Garrison and Alwyn Robinson, and because of the acoustic feel of the night, it also kept a misty, surreal energy about it, while also still building off some passionate strumming from Emmitt into a beautiful and delicate little peak. This was for sure a truly awesome version of this song.
Likewise, the acoustic setup for the night provided the bearings also for a wicked cool, stripped down “Aquatic Hitchhiker” jam. Propelled on banjo first by the tune’s author Andy Thorn, the song reached its part where its left to Garrison and Robinson, and the two again delivered a twist on previous versions, opting for this steamy, extra-warm jazz feel. Deutsch came back quick to turn this into a trio jazz jam, and the Thorn added to the mix, before Emmitt and Herman eventually returned to bring the journey back around home.
Down the back half of this great night, Vince Herman addressed the crowd in his way to say, “I don’t know if anybody’s noticed, but things are getting kinda weird these days.” The crowd roared and flaires in delight and Salmon kicked into their appropriate “Troubled Times,” and at the end of this one Deutsch and Andy Thorn produced another terrific dueling solo showdown.
For their first of two encore songs, Salmon brought up singer and friend of the band Halle Jaeggi, to sing lead on a version of “Helpless,” harkening back to the band’s Thanksgiving tribute to the music of Neil Young last year. The young woman rocked the vocals, and with the entirety of the band and the Infinity Hall crowd joining her on this song’s heart wrenching chorus, it made for a touchingly awesome high point end to this wonderful night of music.
The night finished out with a classic Salmon feature: a multi-song breakdown segue fest. Kicking off with one of their originals, Herman sang the band straight into The Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman,” and this coasted first into “Going Down The Road,” then “I know You Rider,” and back into their own tune to wrap up the fun.
Leftover Salmon continue their Acoustic Living Room Tour this weekend at City Winery in Atlanta, GA, after a few electric sets this week in Annapolis, Richmond, and Martinsville, VA.
Article and photographs by Miles Hurley