Steamboat Springs I have never understood what possesses a band to own - or even borrow - a tour bus.
Sure, you can sleep on them while bouncing from bar to bar on the way to a West Coast tour. If you're traveling with a sizeable entourage or hoards of sound equipment, the extra space can come in handy. And if you're hoping to look intriguing, but out of place, outside a small Steamboat Springs bar, nothing gets that done faster than a bus with a (Prohibition era) rye whiskey logo stamped on the side.
Based on their 7,000-plus MySpace friends, I will buy that Des Moines roots rockers The Nadas are popular dudes. And based on a total lack of familiarity with what kind of music people listen to in the Midwest, I will buy that this band is, in some places, considered very good.
I'll accept that, with close to 15 years playing together, they've got a cohesive sound pretty well down-pat. I'll even throw in that though many of their original songs are sleepy, The Nadas have a knack for writing that standard weary love song.
But based on a wholly uninteresting set Tuesday night at Old Town Pub, I'm not totally convinced that The Nadas need a bus. Rootsy originals and early-'90s covers bled together, flowing out into an empty dance floor/dining room for the first set of the night.
It's not that The Nadas are a bad band - honestly, they write better original songs than most bands you will see in a remote Colorado town, and they play with more polish than most bands you will see at all.
But for a band that's not bad to not be able to capture the attention of a surprisingly large Tuesday night bar crowd, that says something: either that the band is boring (kind of true), or that it's ill-suited to the venue (more true).
- Margaret Hair/4 Points