Smile Politely

Arrestingly fun: Ladin & Terry entertain at Iron Post

Evie Ladin and Keith Terry took to the Iron Post’s humble stage Thursday evening laced up in matching black oxford shoes fit to create the heaving stomps, slick brushes, and light, rhythmic pitter-patter that kept the beat throughout their arrestingly fun show. 

The duo was so clearly bursting with talent as Evie plucked away at her banjo and guitar while Keith rapped along on the upright bass, as well as nearly every surface of his body in an impressive display of body percussion techniques. Overall, their entire set felt more like a homey jam than a performance I had paid to see. Evie and Keith radiated with personality and charm as they chatted with the audience from the stage in between songs, telling anecdotes, jokes, and asking questions of the crowd.

After a brief introduction by Brenda Koenig, chair of the CU Folk and Roots Steering Committee, which hosted the show, Ladin and Terry wasted no time hopping on stage to start off the show with a playful a cappella tune bolstered by their synchronized body percussion. It was hard to take my eyes off Ladin for most of the show. Her presence on stage was enormous as she danced around in free-flowing tap dance style romps and worked her fingers in a flying fury on the strings of her instruments. Still more remarkable was her voice, which she carried from a sexy rasp, to a clear, popping howl with each line of song.

Her partner displayed equally impressive skill with charisma. Keith, a virtuoso of unique percussive techniques, used a variety of toys and tricks to create the beat for most every song. His weapons of choice included bamboo spoons, tin toys, a wire drum brush on a metal pan, and a box-like drum called a cajón — to name a few. When he wasn’t thumping along to Ladin’s banjo on the upright bass or one of these toys, Keith would hop around the small plywood slab on the stage, dancing circles around the songstress. He produced an awesome amount of different sounds by stomping and shuffling his feet, rubbing or clapping his hands in time, or popping and clicking with his tongue. Terry kept his contributions to the songs subtle and playful for the most part, but didn’t shy away from commanding crescendos when appropriate, providing Evie with a fun foundation for each song.    

The duo flowed together for nearly two hours, visibly and audibly connecting through song and movement on Iron Post’s tiny stage. The crowd clearly loved the energy from the performance, as every song, dance solo, and mid-number banjo breakdown was following by vigorous clapping and hollers. I was seriously disappointed that I was one of the only young adults in the room, as I feel like the show would have been appealing to nearly anyone who appreciates the roots of folk and blues. The Iron Post was full by the time Evie and Keith started playing. By the looks of it, the venue was filled by avid folk fans as affirming remarks from the crowd followed every name drop or folk fact.

By the time their set was through, the crowd let out a robust clap for more. Ladin and Terry abided with one last jam, and I left The Iron Post with a huge smile and a high from the excitement and energy that Evie Ladin and Keith Terry had pumped into the room.

All photos by Juli Heuel.

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