YMSB | 12.31 | Denver

Words by: Brian Heisler | Images by: Tobin Voggesser

Yonder Mountain String Band :: 12.31.07 :: Fillmore Auditorium :: Denver, CO

Jeff Austin :: 12.31.07
Another year gone and another year with Yonder Mountain String Band atop the Colorado music scene. 2007 was the first year Yonder headlined Red Rocks and the fourth year in a row they rang in the new year at The Fillmore Auditorium.

With a line extending a block, the Kinfolk were eager to get inside and warm up with a night of dancing. There were no special additives to this year's performance, where last year had a set by Futureman and Red Rocks had Jon Fishman open. This time around it was nothing but classic YMSB. In fact, the night had a very relaxing atmosphere. There was nothing flashy about The Fillmore, and the band dressed as if they were headed to the pub for a drink; mandolin player Jeff Austin's causally classy suit coat being the only exception.

Even after playing the previous two evenings at The Fillmore, Yonder was able to pull out more than three hours of music. The night began with "Redbird," and instantly the whole room fell into a fury. A backlit wall behind the band flowed with patterns, one of the simple yet intriguing bits of flare at this show. Referencing the band's self-titled album, banjoist Dave Johnston looked at guitarist Adam Aijala and said, "Kick it, Adam," echoing the introduction to "Just the Same" on the album.

Favorites "Southbound" and "Idaho" provided the heart of the first set, with thanks given to Benny "Burle" Galloway (Wayword Sons), writer of many Yonder songs including "Southbound." The band also celebrated Galloway's birthday. Bassist Ben Kaufman explained a situation in which his love for a girl was not reciprocated and went into "Cupid Shot Me Twice," a song played only a handful of times.

YMSB :: 12.31.07
Galloway, the only guest all night, ended up on stage for "Traveling Teardrop Blues," leading on guitar with his raspy vocals spewing through his wiry mustache. It only takes one song to realize what a great influence Galloway has been on Yonder. The man commands respect in a down-to-earth fashion.

The first set ended with a whirlwind built from "Fastball," "Left Me In a Whole," "Belle Parker" and "Mother's Only Son." A long, extended jam by Kaufman came out of "Mother's Only Son," which led into Austin taking over with a high reaching mandolin solo that eventually flowed into set closer "The Bolton Stretch."

"Follow Me Down to the Riverside" got things up to speed in the second set, with Austin bouncing and bobbing his head all the way. John Hartford's "2 Hits and the Joint Turned Brown," one of Yonder's most popular covers, got the crowd in full party mode just in time for the one-minute countdown to 2008. The giant backlit wall behind the band counted down as a digital clock, while Austin intermittently stuck in snide jokes before the cheers of "Happy New Year" began. Appropriately, the music returned with the never-before-played "Since I Started Drinking," which promptly moved to "Keep On Going," a possible theme for the New Year. "New Horizons" was book-ended by "Keep on Going." The second set was definitely more of a party; faster, more danceable, looser and just rocking out in the jam grass way Yonder excels at.

The encore brought the quartet back for what became a lengthy three-song set that ended with "Tear Down The Grand Ole Opry." Bidding the crowd adieu and Happy New Year, Austin led the way, as usual, with his signature anecdotes and friendly vibe. While perhaps not the musical genius of the group, Austin is the magic that separates Yonder from the competition. 2007 gone and the New Year looks bright once again for what appears to be the new keepers of the flame in Colorado.

YMSB :: 12.31.07

Yonder Mountain String Band :: 12.31.07 :: Fillmore Auditorium :: Denver, CO
Set I: Redbird, Nothin But Nothin, At The End Of The Day, Amanda Rose, Just The Same, Southbound, Idaho, Cupid Shot Me Twice, Casualty, This Lonesome Heart, *Traveling teardrop Blues, Fastball > Left Me In A Hole, Belle Parker, Mother's Only Son > Bolton Stretch
Set II: Years With Rose > Follow Me Down To The Riverside > Years With Rose > 2 Hits And The Joint Turned Brown, Town, Loved You Enough, Crow Black Chicken, Since I Started Drinking Again, Keep On Going > New Horizons > Keep On Going, I'd Like Off, Traffic Jam
E: Free To Run, Bloody Mary Morning, Tear Down The Grand Ole Opry
* Benny Galloway on vocals & guitar

Continue reading for more images of YMSB on NYE...

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