Rams Head On Stage Show Review: Band Of Heathens w. Whitehorse on April 10th

Two acts: one, a band of long-haired Texas rockers, and the other, a pair of southern-dreaming, North Country lovers, met in the middle of Annapolis on April 10th for an all-Americana showcase.

Before Wednesday night, I had never been to a concert at Rams Head On Stage, so when I sat down at a small dinner table to the left of the stage as other patrons filtered into the seats surrounding me, I wondered how a raucous band, known as the Heathens, could manage not to blow the doors off the place, along with most of the middle aged crowd that ambled in one after one.

I had just finished interviewing the Heathens’ two main vocalists, and as I waited for the show to start, I spoke to one man in the crowd, a freelance photographer, who had come to see the opening band, Whitehorse.  He explained to me that the Canadian husband-and-wife duo previously served as Sarah McLaughlin’s backup band.  This connection became increasingly evident as they took the stage, adorned in cowboy boots and Stetson hat, with acoustic guitars strung around their necks, and playing a hushed, but energetic collection of acoustic folk songs.  They finished off their set with a great cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire,” that got the crowd primed and ready for the main event.

Now, let me preface the “main event” by saying I’ve been listening to the Band of Heathens for a few weeks now, trying to get a feel for their music, and I thought I knew what to expect.  But the Heathens are one of those bands you need to see live, if you truly want the full effect.  All five members of the band can and do sing, and when both frontmen, Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist, started harmonizing at the end of “Miss Ohio,” the crowd couldn’t help but stare in silent awe.  That silence was certainly short-lived.  Throughout the rest of the show, the audience stomped their feet, and danced in their seats, hootin’ and hollerin’ as the Heathens tore through the second half of their set.  The band could only step off stage for a few seconds before the feverish crowd jumped to their feet and called for an encore.  Afterwards, many audience members clambered into the Rams Head lobby to wait for a copy of the night’s show on tape.  If you’re interested in hearing some of their live sets, you can find bootlegs of the Heathens’ shows here on their website.

-Matt Ellis

Matt Ellis graduated from the University of Maryland in 2012, where he majored in journalism with a minor in Geographic Information Systems.  He grew up in Western Howard County, Maryland and currently works in Edgewater, Md.  His father indoctrinated him on classic rock vinyl and old 80’s cassette tapes, leading to a lifelong obsession with the music of that bygone era.  He has written for a number of different publications including National Geographic, Spinner.com, the Montgomery County Sentinel, and other local papers and websites.

For upcoming shows at Rams Head On Stage, check out our FULL CALENDAR

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One Comment

  1. April 28th, 2013
    Steve Quist says:

    Nice review of the show.

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