This is the first show I saw of the Giving Tree Band, after a long weekend at my first Wakarusa Festival. Enjoy:
Words by B “Cafe con Leche” Gutierrez. Photos by Nicole Riley.
After coming back from Wakarusa I thought I’d be OK to go without live music for a while, but after I got an update from @georgesmajestic about a no-cover Wakarusa Post-Party featuring The Giving Tree Band, I was all over it! So I called a couple of friends and headed over to George’s Majestic Lounge. I left my camera at home after being glued to it for four days straight at the festival, and keeping in mind with the 1500+ photos I had to look through and edit. So I decided to take it easy and just go for the music.
You see, that night I thought I was doing my soul a favor by not taking my camera. But I was so wrong. About two songs into their set, I knew I liked The Giving Tree Band. Two songs later, I realized I had to write a review. It all came together when I saw someone taking photos of the show, after talking to her, Nicole agreed to showcase her photos on BOT. So this is my shout-out to Nicole Riley!
The Giving Tree Band was one of Waka Winter Classic winner bands. They got their spot (two sets) at Wakarusa at the WWC at Kinetic Playground in Chicago. I didn’t catch them at the festival, but I heard of them and their great music. I also heard it was a big band. They all fit on the lounge stage at George’s, but barely. There are currently eight band members: Todd Fink (Banjo), Eric Fink (Guitar), Andy Goss (Guitar), Phil Roach (Violin), Erik Norman (Mandolin), Scott Woods (Slide), Justin Forsythe (Drums), and Patrick Burke (Upright Bass). All of them sing, at least that’s what I remember. There were a couple of songs where all their voices would come together to form beatlesque harmonies, and I’m thinking of “Peace on the Mountain” and “Circles” when I say this.
What can I say, I really enjoyed that night. And this is when I open up and confess: I have never liked a band with this much banjo music before. But now I am hooked on The Giving Tree Band music. I don’t know what it is exactly that attracts me so much, but it could be anything from their stirring energy onstage, their musicianship, their voices, their awesome logo, or the fact that their latest album is carbon neutral. Regardless of what brings me to this new taste, I embrace the change. As a dear friend told me, all is dancing joyfully in flux!
I learned three valuable lessons on Monday, June 7th: There’s not such thing as too much music, I should never leave my camera at home, and the last one I took from the band’s site, to be open and “play life with a heart full of love in order to realize that it is all music, and it is all beautiful.”