Report: Ha Ha Tonka Live in Denver


June 6 at the Bluebird Theatre, the Americana thumpers wowed ‘em.


By Tim Hinely

Missouri’s Ha Ha Tonka swung though Denver on this rainy night (tornado warnings….yikes!) and
I have to say, I love these early Denver
gigs. They hit the stage at 8:30 pm, opening for Langhorne Slim (who I didn’t
stay for) and proceeded to wow the crowd many of whom didn’t seem to know who
they were (though a handful did). Their latest record, Death of a Decade is a strong collection of hooky/soaring Americana
and on this evening they delivered as ambassadors of the show-me state, well,
they showed me (and if Missouri isn’t
the Show Me State well, I apologize) Vocalist/guitarist Brian Roberts is a real
spark plug, pouring his heart and soul into each song but not without having
fun, too. His looseness  is energizing,
bouncing around the stage the whole time, while the others guys , including the
full on Boogie Nights/Pablo
Cruise-ish bassist (who sported an un-ironic ‘fro, baby blue tank top, skinny
jeans and plenty of exposed chest hair….I’m sure this guy got laid after the
show) followed his lead.


They opened with
“St. Nick on the Fourth in a Fervor” then went on to play an older tune “Caney
Mountain” before diving head first into some (terrific) tunes off Death of a Decade, including “Lonely
Fortunes”, “The Humorist”, “Jesusita”, “Dead Man’s Hand”, then a few a cappella
tunes including an old standard “Hangman” (they played a couple new tunes as
well). They ended the set with “Usual Suspects” (opening cut from the latest
record) and called it a night. This band continues to impress with an energetic
live show, tight, but not too tight, and they’re constantly improving and
winning new fans in each town. Catch ‘em live – or live with the regret.





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