Breckenridge Brewery’s Hootenanny featuring Leftover Salmon with Anders Osborne, Zach Deputy, MilkDrive, The Drunken Hearts, & Chain Station 7/18/15
Littleton, CO

The band Leftover Salmon has quickly becoming synonymous with unique musical experiences across the country. The Friday the 13th show at The Stanley Hotel and the massive 4/20 celebration in Asheville are a couple now fabled shows from just the last year. The most recent of which, dubbed the “Hootenanny” took place at the newly christened Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton, Colorado. This was a grand opening for the 12-acre campus with full service available at the Farm House restaurant. The rustic charm was made all the more welcoming with the giant 360-degree bar and dozens of tap handles. This was a joint celebration acknowledging 25 productive years in business for both Salmon and the nationally known brewery.

The size of the event became obvious the moment of arrival. The sprawling structures of the brew houses made for a perfect festival ground. Behind the Farmhouse the Winter Wonder Grass stage was in full effect. A giant bocce ball court, corn hole sets, and luscious green grass all surrounded the small but adequate stage. The gentle sounds of The Colorado Goat Ropers Guild started the festival early before many of the patrons arrived. This was a celebration on a timer with the festivities scheduled to end around 7 PM. This was an 8-hour hootenanny. MilkDrive was the only band that played two sets at the festival. They opened up the aptly named Brewhouse Stage at noon.

The VIP tent was in the center of the action with unlimited pours and private port-o-johns. The all-inclusive event was expecting around 7,000 people. Each general admission ticket included 4 beer tickets, unlimited tastings, and a meal. They served pulled pork and chicken to the thousands of hungry music fans throughout the day. Vendors and sponsors sat underneath easy-ups dotting the perimeter as people passed back and forth between the stages. Multiple beer stations made it easy to grab a refill. The Hootenanny also marked the release of Silver Salmon, which is an India Pale Lager brewed at Breckenridge. It was pretty tasty. Chain Station delivered a rowdy bluegrass set with solid harmonies and concrete picking. This ensemble continues to be one of the preeminent string bands on The Front Range.

The exquisitely eccentric, musical machine, one-man band extraordinaire, Zach Deputy came to the main stage next. His face flanked by microphones, he sat in front of his unimaginable array of pads, pedals, and keys treating fans to classics like the 69 Boyz’s “Tootsie Roll.” Deputy’s set featured some Americana, rock, reggae, pop, and classic beats coupled with his comfortable rasp. The Drunken Hearts were playing their set simultaneously at the WWG stage. They were performing sans Zebulon Bowles who has been on Hot Buttered Rum tour this summer. This band is a local bluegrass juggernaut with a solid following. Andrew McConathy’s vocals have the feel of a 90’s grunge rocker gone country. The 6-piece band invited Rocky Mountain Grateful Dead Revue percussionist and Mayor Pro Tem of Avon Jake Wolf up to play his talking drum. MilkDrive played their second set on the smaller stage in the beer garden with a stellar rendition of Wilco’s “Handshake Drugs.”

Anders Osborne has carved out his own musical niche with powerful lyrics and moving guitar work. His touring band included the unbelievable Eric McFadden, John “Papa” Gros on keys, Carl Dufrene on bass, and the legendary Brady Blade on drums.

The set featured some heavy rock and impeccable singing from Osborne. The slide-centered “Had My Reasons” is a gritty romp through the back alleys of life. “Back On Dumaine” is Osborne’s ode to his home street. It transitioned swiftly into the Dead’s “Bertha” before returning to “Dumaine” for the final verse. It appears to be the year for every group to give a nod to the Good Ol’ Grateful Dead. Overall this was a huge set from Osborne and company, and they were a top-notch addition to the Hootenanny lineup. Just as they band was finishing up, large raindrops began to fall on the mass of people. Fans scattered, but many stayed and simply soaked up the precipitation.

After about 30 minutes the downpour slowly subsided and Leftover Salmon took the stage for one extended set of music. They opened with the abundantly appropriate “Let’s Give a Party.”

The rain delayed Salmon’s two-hour set by about 30 minutes, but no one seemed to notice. Now fulltime member and all around amazing guy Bill Paine treated us to Little Feat’s “Oh Atlanta.” Drew displayed his immense vocals on “Breakin’ Thru” before a tight “Keep Driving.” Overall the set was full of classics songs from throughout their twenty-five years as a touring group. “Just When You Think It Can’t Get No Better” caused a massive dance party, and “Fayetteville Line” was a musical nod to founding member Mark Vann. “Rooster Rag” was the title track from Little Feat’s last album, and it almost sounded like a Salmon tune with Mr. Paine shredding the keys. Leftover also got on the Grateful Dead Train with a raucous “Mr. Charlie” and the Breckenridge Brewery crew sang “We Bid You Goodnight.” “High Country” was only track off of their most recent release of the same name. The music ended around 7:30 and fans streamed out to buses and cars lined along Brewery Lane. A warm euphoric buzz took over the crowd, half from the copious amount of beer served and half from the incredible musicianship. This was a memorable event that succeeded in showcasing the new Breckenridge Brewery. I think it’s safe to say this facility will be a model to Colorado’s beer community. Let’s hope we can all head back to The Farmhouse for the 50 year Hootenanny.