El Rey Theatre Los Angeles, CA
Players: Ian Munsick, vocals, guitar; Aaron Rochotte, drums, backing vocals; Jake Bunnell, guitar, backing vocals; Tim Hayes, fiddle, backing vocals
Material: Opening with a solo from fiddle player Tim Hayes before cheers erupted from the crowd as Ian Munsick took the stage for an hour-long set playing in a packed house, backed by tight and energetic band, “Rocky Mountain Fever.” Playing an almost 90-minute set in his first Los Angeles show, Munsick kept the crowd cheering and singing along on their feet, sharing 10 tracks from new album White Buffalo, along with a handful of songs from 2021’s Coyote Cry, and single “Me Against The Mountain.”
Musicianship: Kicking things along with earthy banjo-picking on “From The Horse’s Mouth,” swayable singalong refrains followed in “Come Home To You,” with fabulous gravelly vocals, great harmonized singing from the room, and a beautiful solo from Jake Bunnell. Framing the work ethic of country life, “Dig” brought a gentle guitar opening, guitar and fiddle solos, and lovely backing vocals from Munsick and drummer Aaron Rochotte.
Performance: Crowd favorite, “Cowboy Killer,” expanded the party vibe, prompting dancing in the audience that intensified as Tim Hayes gave a snippet of “Devil Went Down To Georgia” on the fiddle and Aaron Rochotte added a twist to Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” solo. “Long Haul” brought a singing crowd and swaying phone lights while “I See Country” brought three-part harmony and a great banjo sound and rimshot work by Rochotte. Mountain gypsy harmonies followed from Munsick, Rochotte and Bunnell, and the honkytonk singalong continued on “Neon Brightside,” with beautiful fiddle and harmonized falsetto on “Long Live Cowgirls.”
Summary: Comforting love song, “More Than Me,” gave way to sassy reggaetone vibes on “Cowshit in the Morning,” before shifting to a surprise pop medley (“No Scrubs”/“Toxic”/“Say My Name”). “Missin’ Her Play” brought a full, balanced sound with both guitars and fiddle, “White Buffalo” slowed to an intense, ethereal soundtrack, and “Barn Burner” shared thick harmonies and cheeky lyrics (‘She threw a pitchfork at my heart and her barn burned down"). Ian Munsick brings great energy with incredible songwriting, singable lyrics, and a fantastic band. His live show creates a satisfying concert party. – Andrea Beenham