By Shawn O’Brate
LANDER – With Summer coming to a close, school starting back up, and the weather slowly becoming colder the live music around Fremont County has started to dwindle compared to the almost-daily events from early June to late July.
But, this past Wednesday and Thursday night the city of Lander was rocked by a harmonious band that checked multiple genre boxes for the multiple types of music lovers around the county.
“We got some country, some rock and roll, we’re a nice family band with lots of harmonies,” Carter King, one of the three lead guitarists and lead singers of Futurebirds described.
It all started Wednesday night on the way up towards Sinks Canyon at the Central Wyoming College (CWC) Alpine Science Institute where a private show was put on for a group of about 80-100 people.
“We wanted to try and create a benefit or a gift for our sponsors so we wanted to do a show as a thank you to them,” Jeff Stabury, one of the Lander Presents: board members said about the private show, “We thought Futurebirds was a great band to book…that people would like and they agreed to do a private show and that’s what we did for the people that made it possible.”
This week’s concerts marked the second time that the band has played in Lander, with the first taking place back in 2016 when the Lander Live music series was still putting on shows before dissolving and transforming into Lander Presents:. Wednesday’s show went on until it was pitch black up on the mountain, giving everybody a star-filled sky to watch behind the band, and it was “a beautiful reminder” of why the band loves Wyoming so much.
That night also marked the very first time that the Futurebirds played their newest single, ‘Sinz & Frenz’ (which dropped on Apple Music and Spotify earlier that day), live for an audience which was exciting to the band members, especially because they were also filming the music video for the song that night with drones, video cameras and more all pointed at the crowd of people surrounding the Alpine Institute stage.
Fans of the Futurebirds traveled from all across the country to see them play Wednesday and Thursday night with citizens from states like California, Oklahoma, Montana and even Florida coming to see the band that originates out of Athens, Georgia.
The next day the band traveled further up Sinks Canyon to film more of the ‘Sinz & Frenz’ music video at the natural waterslide up Bruce’s Trail before heading to Lander City Park to complete the Lander Presents: Summer music series. Thursday night’s concert brought out one of, if not the, largest crowds of the season which totaled upwards of five-to-six hundred people.
Before taking the stage for the second time in two days, King explained how much he and the band love the city of Lander:
“Lander is absolutely one of our favorite spots to play, we were having a conversation about it actually…We’re ready to make Lander one of our hometowns.”
The band proved that with the way they praised the city throughout both shows but, little to their knowledge, they have already created an unbreakable bond between the band and the city due to the cover of their first studio album ‘Hampton’s Lullaby’, released way back in 2010.
“I was fishing when I was early in college with my dad and we took a photo of a cliff, and that was our first cover,” King explained.
That picture just happened to be one of the many large cliffs towering over the Popo Agie river, making Lander “more ingrained in the band than we even knew” and vice-versa.
Thursday’s show featured some of the same songs as the night before, with two encores and music that pedal steel guitar player, Dennis ‘Kiffy’ Love, jokingly described as “a pretty high heat griddle [with] texas toast that has the upper left hand side cooked, the bacon’s sizzling, the hashbrowns are a little undercooked in the bottom carriage…and it’s all buttered to perfection.”
The Lander Presents: Summer music series couldn’t have come to a more colorful, symphonic, and heartfelt ending to the season and the board members that helped put the concerts on are already starting to “look at the budget” for next Summer where they hope to have four events, according to Stanbury, a lifelong Futurebirds fan.
Summer’s large boom of live music is ending soon, with only a handful of concerts left to attend including Carvin Jones in Riverton this Saturday, August 20th and Sunday, August 21st as well as Rigby Summer who will be playing at Sawmill Campground on Friday, August 26th.