By: Corey McComb
Live at the Casbah 9/3/15
It’s Thursday night at the Casbah and there’s love in the air. Beer is dripping back down off the ceiling onto a crowd that’s demanding one more song. PBR cans float midair over couples making out while security keeps a watchful eye over stage divers. The dance floor refuses to stop and The Donkeys are walking back on the stage to play a few more.
A band that just released their 4th full length album, Ride the Black Wave, has brought out 10 years worth of friends and fans tonight to kick off their 30 day US tour. And, while opening bands Oh Spirit! and Big Search helped the room shake off any workday hangover, it’s clear everyone is here for one reason.
Packed with bodies and pensive energy, the room becomes a 1970s dance party as the opening of “Excelsior Lady” is played. Drummer Sam Sprague looks like a giant in his blue Hawaiian shirt as he points to the sky between snare hits. He is screaming, “Shake your asses!”. Everyone grabs a dance partner and a neon sign glows from the back of the room that spells out “I Love The Donkeys”.
The band’s three vocalists alternate and collaborate seamlessly while keeping the energy up. Songs like, “No need for oxygen” transform from a slow cut on their album to a mindblowing jam session live. The light show can’t keep up as howling guitar solos put us underwater while the group croons,
“Dolphins make good friends, but sharks give you the truth in the end”.
What is it that makes a band great live? For The Donkeys, it’s their believability. While everyone in the audience couldn’t have been smiling wider, no one was having more fun than the four guys on stage. Besides excellent sound quality and well written songs, it’s the genuine personalities and playful chemistry that catches the room on fire and makes this band such a treat to watch.
By the time fan favorite “Born with Stripes” is played there is no where left to hide. Water fights ensue and beer blasts out of bottles like champagne, hitting every corner. Keyboardist Anthony Lukens is climbing on top of his piano, cawing at his chest, shouting,
“I AM JUST A TIGER BABY!”.
To see The Donkeys live is to become a believer: These guys truly were, “Born with Stripes”.