Boulder-Denver gyspy-folk band Dovekins played to a packed room at Astroland last night. It was a night of folk melodies at Boulder's only do-it-yourself venue, as Dovekins' performance was preceded by acoustic sets by Paper Bird's Esme "Tiger" Collins, Denver songwriter Sawmill Joe and Portland artist Nick Jaina.
Collins played a short set in the dark, cramped confines of Astroland, and her simple songs left the entire room of hipsters spellbound. She plays guitar feeling and lyricism, and though she packs some powerful vocal chops, during her acoustic set she was restrained, as most of her songs were down-tempo.
Sawmill Joe was the real surprise of the night. He got his nickname from his job at a sawmill in Golden, and his voice draws equally from Isaac Brock, Tom Waits and Howlin' Wolf. He was convincing, too. When he sings lines like, "Brakeman, won't you feel my pain? / Oh please don't toss me off this train / I ain't got no home / I ain't got no name / just a half pint of whiskey and a lifetime of sorrow and shame," you want to believe him.
Dovekins played a high-energy set that had the crowd moving. It was a nice contrast to the mostly slow, pensive folk that had preceded it. The event was a release party for the band's new album (A)live, which can be purchased at the band's website, http://www.dovekins.com. The five-piece group included multi-instrumentalists playing clarinet, piano, banjo, upright bass, accordion, guitar and drums. This is a band with potential to blow up in these parts; catch them while you can.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated the name of Dovekins' new album. The album is called (A)live, not Assemble the Aviary, the latter of which came out in 2010. Boulder Weekly regrets the error.