Who: Cabinet & The Kalob Griffin Band
What: Kalob Griffin Band CD Release Party
Where: World Cafe Live – Philly, PA
“The stage was set. June found a gun. She said ‘I could shoot this thing.'”- Grandma Hoodie (from the inside cover of June Found a Gun by the Kalob Griffin Band
Not only has June Found a Gun but June has also reawakened this diehard fan of the Kalob Griffin Band. The KGB (as they are known by their loyal and spirited Penn State fan base) held their album release party at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on Friday, June 1st. The room was packed with friends, frats, family, and a whole lotta’ fun. Not to mention a small group of handsome young gentlemen (referred to as the “Norristown boys”) donning fancy suits—white and pinstriped among them—to mark the special occasion.
The night opened with some down-home kicking of the heels to the music of Cabinet, a six-piece bluegrass/folk band of musicians who play banjo, mandolin, violin, upright bass, guitar, and drums. They played songs from their CD/DVD album Eleven (Live at Abbey Bar, November 11, 2011) and even had a special guest—John Hildenbrand, keyboardist for the KGB—sit in for a song. Cabinet finished their set with “Old Farmer’s Mill” which, despite my rules on not dancing with beer in my hand, caused me to hop, stomp, and yell, spilling beer on my clothes and the dance floor. After the show, I talked briefly with Mickey Coviello, the band’s guitarist and vocalist, who offered me a sticker and told me about their upcoming PA tour dates at Mauch Chunk Opera House and Bears Picnic to name a couple. I will definitely be spilling beer on myself to their music in the coming months.
When the Kalob Griffin Band took the stage the room volume exploded with male chants of K-G-B! K-G-B! K-G-B! along with screaming females, and an overall rambunctiousness that was all-consuming. The first song, “IPA”, opened with Kalob Griffin’s sounding cry , “I’ve been to Tennessee-EE!” The dance floor filled up almost immediately—there was just enough room for everybody to sway, stumble, sing, yell, chant, drink and spill beer, and not care either way because the party was ON. Kalob then toasted the audience with a “Cheers!” to the crowd as we obeyed, tipping our cups and he launched into the intense lyrics of “The Flood of 1889”: “Burn the bridge and build a dam. Watch the water tear it down.” The band continued to rip through song after song, while Kalob told stories of the first song he ever wrote with short hair (“Go On Your Way”) and the song he wrote in his 4th floor dorm room (“Whiskey My Love”)—also the song for which he requested John the keyboardist to undo an extra button on his shirt. The highlight for me was when Kalob requested the lights to be “saddened” and blue for an epic “Ricky Tick Tack” which was later followed by “Ricky Jr.” The crowd was also entertained with tales of “Sweet Tooth” aka Rob Dwyer, the guitar/mandolin/banjo player, and Kalob’s admission of the most heartfelt song he’s ever written: “Beards”.
During the evening I had the pleasure of meeting the father of Eric Lawry, KGB’s drummer, who was in the crowd sporting the green KGB visors that other family and friends were proudly wearing. And I overheard some girls in the bathroom talking about how charismatic Eric is: “Oh my god, the drummer looks like he’s having so much fun! I wanna be him. He just looks like he loves life!” I was also fortunate enough to meet Kalob’s mother who shared a couple interesting facts about her amazingly talented son: 1) He originally wanted to be a golfer but gave it up because he couldn’t stand the golf clothes; and 2) He didn’t learn to sing or play the guitar until he was in college. And to top it all off, Kalob was joined by two women on stage who were part of the inspiration behind the album’s title—the women who weren’t allowed at hunting camp but still found a gun, a camera, and a box of cigars.
The evening ended with an encore of The Allman Brothers’ “Ramblin’ Man” where people were dancing on the stage and subsequently ushered off by the World Cafe’s stage regulators. However, one of the suited “Norristown boys” managed to stay up there and relieve himself of his shirt, suspenders, and undershirt, treating us all to a lovely tattooed midsection and last hoorah that was perfectly fitting for a rowdy night with the zesty, young lads of the Kalob Griffin Band. And to top it off, I even met the girlfriend of bass player Nick Salcido after the show. You can read an expertly written album review of June Found a Gun by TSI’s Matthew Latessa and I strongly encourage you to check out the album by visiting the band’s website: http://kalobgriffinband.com/music.
KGB Set List:
IPA, Flood, Cheatin’ Joey, Oh Good Woman, Honeymooners, Go on Your Way, Crooked Man, American Dream, Ricky Tick Tack, South, Big Blue Momma, Whiskey My Love, Hopeful Heart, Ricky Jr., Winter Blues, Johnny Double Down, Beards, Take Me River
E: Dead Dog Jam, Ramblin’ Man
Words by Autumn Walden; Photos by A Soulful Sound + Rich McKie (TSI)