On a cold Thursday night, The Ballroom Thieves warmed hearts with a lot of screaming and shouting...and some soft-spoken melodies, too. Firmly rooted in folk and Americana, the trio of cellist Calin Peters, guitarist Martin Earley, and drummer Devin Mauch give the fleeting impression that they’re a top-notch ‘coffeehouse’-style band, but then suddenly surprise listeners with breakneck-speed guitars and powerful vocals.
Earley remained on guitar and Peters alternated between cello and bass, but Mauch’s percussion setup was an interesting one - a kick drum turned sideways so he could bang on it with a percussion mallet in one hand while hitting the toms and cymbals with the other. Of course, it’s a communal effort - there isn’t a single lead vocalist here, and all three get time to shine. Mauch moved the crowds with a cover of Frightened Rabbit’s “My Backwards Walk,” Earley performed solo acoustically on the stage’s edge for “Bartering,” and Peters impressed with the 2016 election-influenced “Do Something.” To close out the show, the trio moved to the center of the crowd and sent everyone off into the cold night with soothing harmonies. That’s The Ballroom Thieves’ M.O. - rile them up. Calm them down. Simply put, take them all for a ride.
The Ballroom Thieves’ latest release is the EP Covers via Nettwerk Music Group.
Opening for The Ballroom Thieves was the always-outstanding Odetta Hartman. Her melding of Appalachian musical traditions with forward-thinking production made for a captivating show as she made her way through songs on banjo, violin, and guitar with finesse. Her latest release is the album Old Rockhounds Never Die via Northern Spy Records.