Strings of awe | VailDaily.com

Strings of awe

Cassie Pence
Shane Macomber/Vail DailyThe Eric McFadden Trio
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VAIL – Concerts are much more fun to watch, as the crowd at Street Beat found out Wednesday, when the musicians are inherently talented at playing their instruments.The Eric McFadden Trio had the audience dancing, looking, listening and guessing just how three men jamming on acoustic instruments could sound larger than life.

“I’ve never heard an acoustic, classical guitar sound like that. And I’ve seen thousands of concerts,” said Buz Didier of Avon. “With the special effects, the whaa-whaa pedal, it’s awesome.”Eric McFadden plays Flamenco style on a nylon-stringed classical guitar, running it through various different distortion effects. The resulting sounds bring to mind different emotions, from happy to sad to demented.James Whiton, with obvious classical training, slaps, bows, plucks and manipulates the upright bass with such rigor that the instrument was holding an animated conversation with the audience, even at times growling at us.

“I like the way he’s playing the upright bass. He’s rockin’ it harder than I’ve ever seen anyone else rock an instrument like that,” said Casey Cashmen of New Jersey who works for 8150, where the band performed following Street Beat.McFadden continuously introduced the members of the band to the crowd, Whiton and Kevin Carnes on drums, revealing his appreciation for such a dynamic combination of musicians.As McFadden told me in an interview prior to the show, it’s hard to pigeon hole the group’s sound. I heard elements of classic rock (They covered a very small portion of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog”) and psychedelic rock, similar to the tunes on the Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s” album, and McFadden and Whiton showed their versatility playing a Colorado-style hoe-down complete with a dueling bass and mandolin segment.

“I like that he’s going to be the next Tom Waits,” said Elizabeth Roddy of Minneapolis pointing to Whiton. “And they really accommodate each other well.” The show’s success was evident from the expressions of awe on the crowd’s face as they watched with amazement the sounds coming off the trio’s instruments.Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 618, or cpence@vaildaily.com.Vail Colorado