One of the first things you realize at a Gourds show is that these are not the aging rockers they appear to be. Though the sounds are traditional (mandolins, banjos, accordions, acoustic guitars, even the electric guitar sounds like it’s from the 60s), this is young people’s music. It’s irreverent, it’s spontaneous, it’s ragged and rough around the edges. And maybe most importantly, it’s good “butt shufflin’” music, as guitarist/singer/frontman Kevin Russell put it.
This helps explain how the Gourds did something that many acts at the Linda Norris Auditorium can’t do: they got the audience hootin’ and hollerin’ like a drunken Austin crowd. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Linda and the great performers they bring to town, but the crowd is usually sedate, and that lack of energy is often reflected in the performances. It’s hard for an act to get fired up for a crowd that won’t do much besides clap appreciatively after a song. The Gourds courted a different audience this time, though, one that was full of passionate music lovers who are willing, even eager to indulge a band on a night like this.