If ever I wished to be Moses, last night was the night. Oh, to be able to create a chasm between fans and act, to part the smooth folk pop of Bob Schneider and the Budweiser-bearing homeboys who nearly talked over his entire set.
But it almost made sense. The antsy atmosphere fueled grizzled Schneider, who bounced around from electric blues to squeeze-your-darling love ballads. His trusty brass and accordion compatriot was all dance, shuffling about on the stage while injecting the occasional weep or howl of a troubadour.
Schneider, a decorated talent out of the musically rich city of Austin, Texas, has collaborated with so many other musicians it defies logic. His current touring bunch—"my troop," as he calls them—meshes nicely, and while they are rarely daring the sound they make is polished and intoxicating. Of added intrigue is Bob's occasional step into solace, just himself and an acoustic guitar. This is Bob the songwriter, and his wisdom here radiates fully.
It was a sing-along until the troop pitched a curveball with a Halloween song fit with murder and tortured victims. Schneider's maniacal laugh and many impersonations turned the stage into theater, if only for a song. "It's a privilege to play the Doug Fir repertoire theater," he said after introducing his fellow castmates.
In a feel-good brand somewhat like the folk equivalent to Michael Franti, Schneider bobbed a lot of heads and raised many feet. His attitude infectious, his sound friendly (in fact giddy at times, with the addition of electric steel drums), Schneider did some serious crooning. The man conducted business, Texas style.
Photos by Mark Stock