The Ragbirds
The Pour House
Jan. 5

Last Thursday’s Ragbirds show at the Pour House wasn’t crowded, but the 50-or-so people who turned out for the band won’t soon forget the experience.

It’s impossible not to be entertained by a band so versatile. Bandleader Erin Zindle swapped instruments between nearly every song, trading between a banjo, accordion, and melodica. She was probably best with a fiddle in hand, moving through tight, uptempo Irish tunes before the band slid right back into deep percussive grooves.

Rhythm is everything in this band, with two-fifths of their lineup dedicated to skins. Loren Kranz was on the drum set, and Randall Moore handled congas, tabla, and djembe. Zindle picked up the mandolin for the playful “Tipi Baya,” a song with hints of Ani DiFranco’s tune “Swing.”

Gliding effortlessly between syncopated Celtic songs and teases of Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” the Ragbirds displayed a worldliness and enviable mastery of musical comprehension.

Interestingly, they were chosen this week as High Times‘ band of the month. Herbal supplements might enhance the music, but in this writer’s experience, music this intricate requires sober concentration to perform well. And the Ragbirds did just that.