The Brothers Comatose have new appreciation for Reno

Tahoe Onstage

The Brothers Comatose rock The Saint with a midweek jam.
Tahoe Onstage photo by Mike Smyth.

The Brothers Comatose have a new take on Reno.

San Francisco-based roots/bluegrass/Americana band kicked off a lengthy Spring Tour with a 22-song performance on Wednesday night in their debut at The Saint in front of a raucous crowd.

The Brothers ComatoseThis talented quintet frankly appeared a little surprised to find a packed house giving them all the love they could ask for from the time they stepped on stage.  When the sing-along enthusiasm didn’t settle down after “Angeline,” “Brothers,” and “Pie For Breakfast” Frontman Ben Morrison (guitar/vocals/tambourine) acknowledged them, “You guys are really bringing it tonight,” and then added in semi-surrender, “I guess we better bring it, too.”

They made good on his pledge, with Morrison delivering warm, pleasing vocals reminiscent of a perfectly roasted campfire marshmallow paired with smooth sipping whiskey, backed by beautiful harmonies, layer after layer of vibrating strings, and the steady anchor of Gio Benedetti’s bass talents.  The Comatosians delivered one solid performance after another from their entire catalog, including the title track from their most recent album “City Painted Gold” on which Ben’s brother Alex Morrison (banjo/vocals) and Benedetti did an admirable job covering the T Sisters’ backing vocals from the studio recording. Benedetti (who also writes the band’s blog, and is pretty hysterical) shared how a Paul Simon song had been a staple of his childhood living room dance parties –and continues today with his own family — before singing lead on a rousing “Me and Julio.”

Ryan Avellone’s (mandolin/guitar/vocals) “Knoxville Foxhole” led into a cover of Ryan Adams’ “To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High),” and the yet to be recorded “Cedarwood Pines,” from which point classically trained violinist (but in this band, fiddle player) Philip Brezina simply took over the rest of the evening. While carefully avoiding the pitcher of beer at his feet, his bow and fingering laid the foundation for Ben Morrison’s vocal on “Trippin’ on Down,” then proceeded to torch the room on the instrumental “Pennies Are Money Too,” before sharing shredding duties with Avellone’s mandolin, and Alex Morrison’s banjo on the up tempo “The Way The West Was Won.”

Despite their close proximity and appearances at High Sierra Music Festival, Reno hasn’t been one of their usual stops. Ben Morrison admitted as much as he prefaced the song “Legacy” (sung by brother Alex), which had been written some time ago and not played in about five years, as a less than flattering ode to a downtown Reno hotel. He quickly added, “But that was before we realized how cool Reno is.”

If Wednesday night proved anything, it’s that The Brothers Comatose have had a love pining from the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada for some time, and if they wanted to depart the expensive “City Painted Gold” for friendly, inspiring mountain climes, Reno would welcome them with whoops, hollers and open arms.

Related story: Growing up Comatose.

The Brothers Comatose
April 26, 2017
The Saint, Reno
Pie For Breakfast
Modern Day Sinners
The Ballad of Tommy Decker The Prince of Haight Street
City Painted Gold
Me And Julio
120 East, Knoxville Foxhole
To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)
Cedarwood Pines
The Van Song
Grand Pappy
Trippin’ on Down
Pennies Are Money Too
How The Way The West Was Won
Tops of The Trees
Get Me Home
Strings, Feels Like The Devil
La Bamba
The Scout

The Brothers Comatose at The Saint

The Brothers Comatose at The Saint in Reno on April 26, 2017.
Photo by Mike Smyth

About Michael Smyth

Michael Smyth moved to Reno in 2007 after living more than 40 years in the Bay Area. In addition to going to live shows, he enjoys golf, skiing and fly-fishing. Check out his website

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