In a day and age when most bands are delving into more "electronic" music with more gizmos on stage, it truly amazes me every time I look up at a stage with the bare minimums. Only four musicians, all on acoustic instruments and I end up dancing harder and for longer stretches of time than I ever thought possible. From the moment Yonder Mountain String Band walk out on stage, Jeff (mandolin), Ben (bass), Dave (banjo), and Adam (guitar), do not stop until they walk off stage over three hours later. And this past weekend was no different!
YMSB settled in for two nights at the Boulder Theatre, in Boulder, CO for their Spring Hoedown. Here they treated the crowd to their own brand of bluegrass - long extended jams, and some deep grooves to go along with it.
The first set opened up with a great coupling of "Rambler" > "Steam Powered Areoplane" > "Rambler" to really get the crowd going. You could feel the energy in the room continue to build through the entire set. By far, the highlight had to be "Boatman" > "Riverside." Although it was similar to the jam they played on 12.29.00, the boys really ripped this one up, taking turns picking
back and forth to the delight of the home town crowd. The entire set was extremely solid and by far had the most energy out of the four sets.
The second set was solidly played, but you could tell the crowd was tired after the blistering first set that we all just went through. Highlights of the set had to be the "Peace of Mind" > "2 Hits and the Joint Turned Brown" > Jam > "Peace of Mind." As well as the closing two tunes "If You're Ever in Oklahoma," which had a huge jam in it, which personally I had never heard before and a cover of the Rolling Stones' "No Expectations." You could tell that the band was extremely happy to be playing to a home town crowd, there was plenty of stage banter to go around... and lot's of good old fashion picking.
The second night, YMSB SOLD OUT the Boulder Theatre, which is certainly an accomplishment and I'm sure a sign of only the great things to come from this band. Set one, was extremely well played
with stand out versions of "Half Moon Rising" and "Panamerican." The true highlight however was when Pete Wernick came out and sat in for the last three tunes of the set, "Life's Too Short" (a Pete Wernick tune from when he was in Hot Rize), "Pow Wow the Indian Boy," and then hands down the best "On the Run" I've heard either live or on disc. With Ben and Pete just trading banjo licks back and forth and then on top of each other, they reached new all time highs with this one. You could literally hear the people jumping up and down and stomping on the hard floors.
The second set was solid from start to finish. The "New Horizons" opener, really sucked the crowd in and let us know that this set was just going to smoke from start to finish. And the boys did not disappoint. With solid versions of "Jesus on the Mainline," "Rag Mama," and then the "Snow on the Pines," which just got darker and darker until it lead right into "Dawn's Early Light." The other personal highlight for me was the "Keep on Goin" > "Stir It Up" jam > "Legalize It" > "Keep on Goin'" sandwich. For me I think "Keep On Goin'" is one of their best original tunes, the lyrics just get to me every time. They boys encored with a more than solid version of Ruby to send all us freaks home with huge smiles on our faces.
You could tell that this was a warm up for FESTIVAAAAAAAAAAALLLL season, as YMSB is playing at the Telluride Blue Grass Festival, High Sierra, and putting on their own party up in Oregon, not to mention the countless other places I'm sure they will show up. And they are ready!!
A word to the wise, go see this band now! They are on the cusp of
breaking huge and if you don't see them now you might regret it.
JamBase Boulder Correspondent
Go See Live Music!
4.13.01 | Boulder Theater
Set I: Rambler > Steam Powered Areoplane > Rambler, Mossy Cow, I Love You Enough, Boatman > Riverside > (Texas Ramble), Good Hearted Woman (Willie Nelson), Della May (New Song), Don't Let Your Deal Go Down, Little Maggie > ?? Jam
Set II: Please Don't Put Your Bullets In Me, ?? Instrumental, You Left Me in a Hole, Peace of Mind > 2 Hit and the Joint Turned Brown > Jam > Peace of Mind, The Blues My Naughty Sweety Gives to Me, Polka on the Banjo, (Vial of glow in the dark glittery ooze ramble), Bluegrass Breakdown, If You're Ever in Oklahoma (extended jam), No Expectations (Rolling Stones cover)
Encore: Shady Grove
4.14.01 | Boulder Theater
Set I: Rambler's Anthem, Father's Arms, Cry Unto Thy Lord, Half Moon Rising, This Lonesome Heart, ??? (New Adam instrumental), Roll on Blues (w/referrence to livestock featured on psychedelic slideshow behind band), Panamerican, *Life's Too Short (Hot Rize tune)
*Pow Wow the Indian Boy, *On the Run
Set II: New Horizon, *#Jesus on the Mainline, Rag Mama, Spanish Harlem, Snow on the Pines, Dawn's Early Light > ??Jam, Hopin' That You're Thinkin' 'Bout Me Now, Sombody Stole My Gal, Keep On Goin' > Stir It Up jam tease > Legalize It > Keep On Goin'
Encore: Ruby (w/ Riverside instrumental tease in the middle, but no Rubicide as Riverside was played Fri.)
*W/ Pete Wernick - banjo
#W/Greg Shotkey (?) - mando from Runaway Truckramp