The annual Dark Horse Brewing Crawfish boil salutes the mighty mudbug and marks the unofficial beginning of summer in Marshall with food, music, and beer.
Dark Horse Crawfish Boil 2018
As many of you know we love Michigan beer and we have a special place in our hearts for our wonderful friends at Dark Horse Brewing in Marshall. They put on a ton of great events such as the 4 Elf Party, Spring Smoke Off, Staff Brew Off, Chicken Wing thing, Thursday night live music, and the Crawfish Boil. After all these years of going to Dark Horse Brewing events, this is the first time we’ve covered the Crawfish Boil.
The Dark Horse Crawfish boil is a pretty sweet deal. Your entry price includes all you can eat crawfish, shrimp, sausage, potatoes, and corn, a commemorative plate, and music from six bands. Beers are extra, but they are only 4 bucks which is a steal.
I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of mudbugs (crawfish). Honestly, I don’t want to jack around with my food to eat it. I’d rather have a piece of pizza over lobster, just because I don’t want to mess around with getting the meat out of the shell. The crawfish are miniature lobsters and picking apart those little fellas take more patience that I want to invest. Thankfully, the peel and eat shrimp are easy to eat. Top that off with potatoes and corn for a solid base to enjoy a few beers and dig into the music.
Music at the Crawfish Boil
While the food is fine, the real deal is the music. Dark Horse Brewing has a knack for getting some great musicians to play at their events. The best part is that you never really know what they may spring on you. From country and bluegrass to blues and rock, you could get any or all flavors at a Dark Horse Brewing event. I still remember a couple years ago at 4 Elf where they had both a punk rock and a glam metal cover band.
We dodged the early afternoon rain but unfortunately missed the first two acts. As we were getting our food and beer, Lachlan MacQuarrie started to jam. This two piece features blistering guitar and popping drums. Lachlan’s telecaster was pushing his Fender amp into maximum overdrive. Their raw blues based rock had elements of rockabilly along with the tangled roots of the blues. These guys were very entertaining and could easily hold their own with Mr. Jack White.
When I saw the name Banjovi, I was hoping this was a banjo driven Bon Jovi cover band. Or perhaps, Bon Jovi himself playing solo banjo. “I’m a cowboy!!” plunk, plunk, twang! I joked about these ideas with Wiggs who had been thinking along the same lines.
It turns out that Banjovi is the world’s greatest ukulele-infused bluegrass band. This is a fun band that puts a bluegrass spin on all sorts of music genres. They played some standard bluegrass tunes and then threw in covers from Elton John, The Eagles, and more. In between songs, they told some corny jokes which put a smile on everyone’s face.
I figured that everyone in Michigan knew about the outlaw country shenanigans of The Orbitsuns. Yet surprisingly as I was chatting with folks before their set, many didn’t know about the band and their brand of rowdy country music with tongue in cheek songs such as “Tornado in my Pants” and “Haul Ass”. I was quick to let them know that they were in for a treat.
The band includes Vinnie Dombroski (vocals/guitar), Bob Hecker (bass), Jimmy Paluzzi (drums) with Liz Mackinder (from the Brunswick Brawlers) providing backing vocals. On lead guitar was former Whitey Morgan guitarist Jeremy Blitz. The boozy bar night fun of the Orbitsuns’ music is serious business. These guys are excellent musicians and they pulled out all the stops. A few folks even did a little dancing as dusk turned to twilight.
The highlight of the evening was rocking out with Bonehawk. This Kalamazoo based band is easily one of the best in the state. Unfortunately, they got a late start and quite a few people had left the party. No matter as Bonehawk put on a soul burning performance that radiated with megalithic vigor.
Chat Houts and Matt Helt rifled off some sweet harmonized guitar on “Nomad” from their magnificent debut album ‘Albino Rhino’. Keeping the action tight and full of heavy punches were the rhythmic rock heroes Taylor Wallace (bass) and Nate Cohn (drums). Those dudes plowed a deep groove on “Argenia”.
Bonehawk’s cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Don’t Believe A Word” was jaw dropping. They paid homage to the masters with distinction. Particularly Matt’s vocals which conjured the ghost of Phil Lynott. The band has been busy working on getting a new album out on Ripple Music. They unveiled a few new tunes which sounded stellar. I could be mistaken, but I think they ended their set with a super extended jam version of “Albino Rhino”. In any case, that tune tasted like a Double Crooked Tree with a Smells Like a Safety Meeting chaser; delicious!
Dark Horse Brewing has mastered the fine art of throwing a great party. The Crawfish Boil is yet another example of a fun time with friends, food, music, and beer.
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Stop by the gallery for more photos from the show!