Last Saturday’s cold and wet attitude could not prevent the warmth and beauty of Over the Rhine from overtaking Underground Arts. Husband and wife duo of Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler let their folk rock wrap the seated audience in the wealth of their 23-year musical history. With their newest holiday-themed release Blood Oranges in the Snow as a backdrop, they delivered their take on “reality” Christmas. And with some cuts from other works, including their masterful 2013 double album Meet Me at the Edge of the World, it would be tough to disappoint anyone in the rapt crowd. Though a seemingly odd venue for such a band, Underground Arts ended up being quite a fine setting for Over the Rhine’s beautiful truths.
Opening the night was the eclectic folk maestro Dom Flemons. Founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Flemons was a charming eccentric. With his instruments that time forgot, like the mini-pipe-like quills and actual bones, Flemons wove musical narratives unique and rich in history. The crowning moment was his banjo one-upsmanship at the set’s end; he played one banjo and then on his final song pulled out a rare large banjo from Philadelphia circa 1924. A brilliant and memorable look at the past, Flemons was the perfect entertainment to begin the evening.