Indie pop-rock band Born In The Flood to play in Vail |

Indie pop-rock band Born In The Flood to play in Vail

Charlie Owen
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily/Doug Beam

VAIL, Colorado ” For Indie pop rockers Born In The Flood, tonight’s show at the Sandbar in Vail could potentially be a disaster. The band’s drummer, Jeff Linsenmaier, often pulls double duty with another Denver-based band, The Fray, and tonight there will be a bit of a scheduling conflict since he’ll be playing with The Fray at a special VH1 show at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek before heading to Vail to hook up with Born In The Flood.

“We’re going to have a van at the show, rumbling, ready to pick him up and shoot over to the (Sandbar) gig and hope that we get there in time to play a proper Born In The Flood show,” said Barton Dahl, the band’s manager.

Their frontman, Nathaniel Rateliff, said he will be prepared for anything tonight. He and BITF bass player Joseph Pope will play some songs by The Wheel, the two men’s other band, for the first set, then once Linsenmaier shows up, they’ll morph into Born In The Flood. Portland’s ambient Indie quartet, Portugal. The Man, will close out the evening.

“We’re hoping he shows up before (midnight). But me and Joseph are going to do some Wheel songs and maybe some of Joseph’s songs and I’ll end up just playing two sets really … It’s double the work, same amount of money, but that’s OK. We’re doing this because we like to play music,” Rateliff said.

Despite the scheduling glitch, Rateliff sounded very confident that the audience will be pleased no matter what happens.

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“We want to make sure that everybody leaves happy and excited about what we’re doing. Hopefully we’ll do that in Vail. The night’s going to be kind of messed up because it’s not what we had planned for it to be but hopefully we still do what we need to do the right way,” Rateliff said.

Dick Dime, manager of the Sandbar, said people should show up expecting nothing less than a great night of music.

“(Born In The Flood’s) music is extremely powerful and beautiful,” Dime said.

So what’s the difference between the musical styles of Born In The Flood and The Wheel?

“Born In The Flood is definitely a little bit more straight forward rock and roll and The Wheel is more focused on the way I write songs and the way I sing … The dynamics are quite a bit different in The Wheel versus Born In The Flood,” Rateliff said.

Rateliff described Born In The Flood as more anthemic and poppy, while The Wheel is more intimate and singer/songwriter oriented.

And both projects are beginning to take off, according to band manager Dahl, who said interest from record labels has been intensifying. Rateliff agreed but declined to specify which labels until something’s official.

“Right now there’s three different labels. One’s really interested in Born In The Flood and one’s really interested in The Wheel and another one came in today … that I’m not really sure what they want. They all really want to work with us. It’s really rad,” Rateliff said.

Not bad considering Rateliff and Pope grew up together in Missouri, dreaming of becoming professional musicians and making a living doing what they love.

“Me and Joseph are not working, we’re just playing music and it’s a pretty exciting time in our lives,” Rateliff said. “We’ve been working towards this for 15 years. It was sort of just a little dream down in his parents basement and it ended up actually being something. And now I’m 30.”

Rateliff said Born In The Flood recorded a couple albums worth of new material and said hopefully fans can expect a new album to be released sometime this summer.

“I guess we’ve always been slow to record and release. The material has never been an issue, it’s more about getting it done and getting it out there,” Rateliff said.

As far as inspiration goes, Rateliff said he couldn’t named any one thing that feeds his creative monster.

“I just write,” he said. “I just write about my life. I’m pretty fortunate to have the life I’m living right now. I’m kind of a melancholy person so I don’t know where the material comes from exactly … I write songs about my friend’s lives and in the songs I’ll speak to myself for a couple of lines, I’ll speak to one of my friends who’s having a hard time. There’s so many things going on around all of us that I think there’s plenty of material to dig up.”

Because he recently quit his job of nine years with a trucking company and Pope just got laid off from his job with a trucking company, Rateliff said they’ve been able to focus fully on their music, honing their craft, and the extra practice time has been paying off in big ways.

“We don’t take this for granted at all,” Rateliff said. “We really believe in this and we really believe that we’re doing something that matters to us and hopefully it matters to everybody else.”

Charlie Owen is a freelance writer based in Vail. E-mail comments about this story to

What: Denver-based Indie rock band Born In The Flood with Portland’s Portugal. The Man and opening act Casella.

When: 10 p.m., Friday

Where: Sandbar Sports Grill in West Vail.

Cost: $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

More information: Call 970-476-4314 or visit

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