Trampled Under Foot made up for lost time Friday night at Knuckleheads. After a hiatus of almost two years, the Kansas City blues rock band played more than 3 1/2 hours for a capacity audience of 1,200.
The group, introduced as “Kansas City’s favorite band,” was to play a second reunion show Saturday night at Knuckleheads.
“We have about 13 years of stuff to get through tonight. If you don’t hear your favorite song, I think there are about five tickets left for tomorrow,” vocalist and bassist Danielle Schnebelen said.
The sibling trio of Danielle Schnebelen, guitarist and vocalist Nick Schnebelen and drummer Kris Schnebelen first achieved renown outside Kansas City when they won the International Blues Challenge in 2008. Increasingly impressive recordings and years of heavy touring gradually established Trampled Under Foot as an international attraction.
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Their hiatus, consequently, was ill-timed. Loyal fans made it clear just how much they had missed the band by shouting along to the rousing version of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” that opened the show.
Aside from lengthy discussions between several songs, the band was in fine form. Danielle Schnebelen insisted that performing with her brothers was “like riding a bicycle.” Kris Schnebelen never seemed to tire during the marathon session. Nick Schnebelen is a flashy guitarist. His solos induced raised fists and whoops of appreciation from admirers.
It is Danielle Schnebelen’s powerful voice, however, that sets the band apart. She wrung every drop of emotion from a rendition of the classic heartbreak ballad “I’d Rather Go Blind” and roared like a proud lion during upbeat selections.
The protracted performance grew increasingly shambolic after midnight. While keyboardist Mike “Shinetop” Sedovic never faltered, featured guest artists Albert Castiglia, a guitar slinger from Miami, and John Németh, a journeyman vocalist based in Memphis, Tenn., were unnecessary distractions.
The encore included a bruising rendition of Castiglia’s “Get Your Ass in the Van,” a cautionary song about the harsh realities faced by blues musicians. The Schnebeling siblings are familiar with the sentiment expressed in the chorus: “Pay some dues and hit the road / This ain’t “American Idol” / Ain’t no more deals being made at the crossroads.”
Fans hope that the undeniable power exhibited by Trampled Under Foot at Friday’s reunion show will convince the siblings to resume the difficult but rewarding life of fully committed blues musicians.
Bill Brownlee: @happyinbag