Some spectacular events take place within Colorado’s new, elite marijuana industry. There seems to be no shortage of money, big ideas and the people willing to pull them off. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead had just whipped through the state of Colorado like a Dead-fueled double rainbow of happiness spreading good music and vibes from the Front Range to Aspen. After their final show, the lineup sans Tommy Hamilton circled back for a private event as Bustle In Your Hedgerow on December 18. This unannounced concert marked the launch of Binkse, an elite chocolatier whose goal is “to produce the best-tasting and highest quality cannabis products in the world.”
I arrived at an almost unrecognizable Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom. Binkse went all out with a fully array of decorations and staging. The room was adorned with numerous chandeliers and upon entering scantily clad elves greeted you with chocolate and a large spliff. Small tables flooded with promotional materials dotted the perimeter. Santa was of course in attendance. We were left to schmooze for an hour or so as people dribbled into the venue. Around 7:30 PM the four-piece made their way to the stage. Marco Benevento gave us a short intro and let us know that it was Joe Russo’s 40th birthday before they began. Like a jet engine firing up its engines they opened with an almost gospel “Song Remains the Same.”
Set 1: Song Remains the Same, Celebration Day, The Ocean, Ramble On, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Dazed and Confused, Kashmir
Set 2: The Lemon Song, No Quarter, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Out on the Tiles, Down by the Seaside, Wonton Song
Encore: Immigrant Song
Recording (Audio by Ted Rockwell)- https://archive.org/details/duo2016-12-18
Each set lasted around an hour with a chunky break in between, which seems to be the typical format of private gigs. Bustle is an instrumental cover band meaning the soaring vocals of Robert Plant are replaced by musical flourishes and massive solos from both Metzger and Benevento while Russo and Dreiwitz hold down the complicated rhythms. A stunning “Celebration Day” continued to feature the organ giving it an almost spiritual connotation. The audience got down on the rowdy rendition of “The Ocean.” The rest of the set was a veritable Zeppelin hit list starting with a beautifully built “Ramble On.” During it all Russo was a beast. The man does the work of at least two drummers when he behind the kit. He is fearless in his execution. It isn’t easy being a modern-day Bonham, but he does it with a smile. Metzger’s guitar was center spotlight on “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” before the band launched into an intrepid “Dazed and Confused” that featured some of the deepest jams of the evening. “Kashmir” continued to showcase the raw talent of everyone on stage. This launch party was quickly becoming a rocking dance party. They closed with a short but sweet “We’re In The Groove.”
It’s interesting that all of the Zeppelin catalog is fair game with Bustle In Your Hedgerow. They performed songs that spanned their entire career from Led Zeppelin to Physical Graffiti. “The Lemon Song” acted as a huge vehicle for a heavy bluesy improvisation with Dave Dreiwitz holding it all down spectacularly. “No Quarter” began as a very spacey composition but eventually those familiar chords washed over everyone like a sweet summer breeze. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” was a bit of a breather in anticipation of the craziness of “Out on the Tiles” which featured an absolutely on fire Benevento. “Down by the Seaside” began innocently enough but soon blasted off into an intense frenetic jam. They closed the set with a solid “Wonton Song.” The band returned for a short but effective “Immigrant Song” to encore.
Personally, this was one of those unexpected nights where a friend offered up his plus one and I could not pass up the experience. It seems that is what Colorado is becoming, the land of experiences. Each one trying to up the ante on the last event. Binkse certainly knocked this shindig out of the park by booking Bustle In Your Hedgerow. They are a band that needs to be dusted off every so often so we don’t forget their awesomeness. And thanks to Joe Russo for working on his birthday, here’s to 40 more years of music! Happy Birthday sir, now pass the chocolate.