Words by: Tyler Weeks | Images by: Sterling
Assembly of Dust with Strange Folk Duo and American Jubilee :: 03.07.13 :: The Independent ::
Full review below photo gallery!
Reid Genauer, lead singer and
for both Assembly of Dust and
the now defunct Strangefolk (formed in
1991 in Burlington, Vermont and
disbanded in 2000 after Geneaur went on to pursue a Graduate degree at
Cornell), didn’t need to say a whole lot to his fans on Thursday night
at The Independent in San Francisco in between songs. For the most
part, they knew the story of how both bands got together. Essentially
opening for himself with lead guitarist and singer John Trafton as the
reunited “Strange Folk Acoustic Duo,” he did explain however that he
and John met “decades ago” at orientation at the University of
Vermont. He followed that up by saying “John has aged better than I
Folk Acoustic Duo|
Truth be told, both seasoned musicians have aged quite well, and
sounded as though there frankly hasn’t been any break in playing.
Aside from a couple of Strangefolk reunion shows early last year,
Genauer’s efforts have all been around Assembly of Dust since their
2002 inception in New York. Both Genauer and Trafton seemed quite
comfortable playing together again and commanded the near capacity
crowd with songs that lyrically soared and had excellent guitar work,
with John often soloing over Reid’s steady rhythm playing. Their songs
mostly conveyed a message of positivity with lines like “It’s a fine
life that happens to me now and then” and “Dance Dance Dance, move
your feet and move your mind…leave your troubles all behind” among
others. Highlights included a cover of Stephen
Stills' “4+20” and AOD
Members Jason Crosby and Adam Terrell hopping onstage and jamming it
out as Trafton and Crosby exchanged dueling guitar and fiddle Solos to
a very enthusiastic crowd crowd.
Headliners Assembly of Dust came out about twenty minutes later and
immediately got down to business with extraordinary musicianship and
very high energy that were consistent throughout their two sets over
two and a half hours. Credit must be given to Dave Diamond, whose ultra-precise fills and super
clean cymbal work were very captivating to watch and listen to.
Furthermore, Genauer’s stage demeanor was laid back and comfortable,
even as he jammed out hard and smiled in approval of what his band was doing. If one were to search
for a band that knows how to bring an Americana and Alt-Country
influence to the pantheon of the jam band scene, look no further.
Keyboardist Jason Crosby (who as previously mentioned also played
fiddle in StrangeFolk’s opening set for a song,) was a master at his
craft, often looking straight ahead as he played, but when an extended
jam would come on had a tendency to lock eyes with his bandmates and
build the songs up to great heights.
While Assembly of Dust is clearly influenced by The Grateful Dead and
even the likes of Wilco, perhaps no
member showed that off
better than lead guitarist Adam Terrell. While more of a Garcia-esque
sound was present, the way he physically presented himself in the
midst of soloing was indeed similar to Wilco guitarist Nels Cline.
Terrell, like the rest of the band, was unassuming in his stage
presence but still knew and was able to acknowledge with confidence
when he was filling the air with incredibly versatile and
technical playing, which came early and often.
Bassist John Leccesse locked in perfectly to the steady grooves that
flowed throughout both sets, certainly the perfect addition to
Diamond’s percussive expertise. Combined with his dancing and at times his
closed eyes as he seemed to be in an almost blissed out state, he was
probably the most lively member in terms of moving around.
One major highlight of AOD’s set came when members of opening act
American Jubilee (young, great Rootsy
Americana group that often plays
Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, CA) came onstage and played
“Telling Sue” with the band. As Crosby once again took to the Fiddle,
Pedal Steel guitarist Ross James, along with guitarist Grahame Lesh,
Mandolin Player Brian Lesh and keyboardist Craig MacArthur, all
exchanged solos with practically every member of AOD and sang
collectively in perfect harmony. The overall looseness of this show
was inspiring to say the least, as members from all three bands made
appearances in AOD’s sets throughout the evening, including Trafton
from Strangefolk. American Jubilee is not currently touring with AOD
and they sounded great playing with them after perhaps a few hours of
practice before or during soundcheck.
Genauer then went on to announce that the next song was the title
track from their new (and free!) album Sun Shot released just a few
weeks back on February 26. The album was funded by a kickstarter
campaign and follows up Found Sound from 2011 and 2009’s Some
Assembly Required which featured collaborations with Mike Gordon of
Phish, David Grisman and Keller Williams, among many others.