08.23.01 | The State Theatre | Falls Church, VA
This was the second Virginia gig in a row for the boys from Boulder
and they couldn't have picked a better venue than the historic State Theatre in scenic Falls Church, VA. Complete with an opera style balcony and Steve, the hardest working bartender on the East Coast. This was also the second gig for Tony Furtado on banjo, whose sitting for Mark Vann while he is on a brief hospital visit, but not to worry, he's going to be just fine. The fellas cut right to the chase and opened with a little "Zombie Jamboree" and kick started a night with an energy level equivalent to that of a runaway train. A constant energy that never dissipates and will only continue to grow throughout the entire show. We then went "Riding on the L&N" and a fitting "Muddy Water Home" followed giving Tony a chance for a little rain boogie as the torrential downpour continued outside.
"Dear Old Dixie" continued our festivities followed by a smooth
groovy "Walk and Look Back." Vince then gave it some gas and encouraged everyone to "dance on their head" while displaying his unique stage presence. "Some kind of good time," Vince yelled as he tells like he sees it. One thing about Poly Ethnic Cajun Slamgrass, it makes you smile. Even if you don't want to smile you can't take that cheesy grin off your face no matter what. "Wild Panama" Bill McKay took over with a nice "Bill's Boogie" which segued into an appropriate "Wild Bill Jones." Bill displayed his vast variety of techniques and an accomplished groove that the whole band really feeds off of. He is an addition to the band that is nothing short of genius. "Driving Nails" was a treat and it brought us the stylings of Slinky Cobblestone, a definite slinky virtuoso in his own right. Keeping the groove going with his toy that's fun for a girl and a boy. Closing the set was the aptly titled "Better" and I
think everyone was in agreement that "it just couldn't be better!"
The set break gave me a chance to meander a bit and relish the State
Theatre's prime location and aesthetics. I was informed that the venue used to serve a movie theatre in the 1940's and has housed some of the greatest bands of our generation, a tradition that continues with LOS. I also got a chance to view Drew Emmit's nice rack of instruments that's complete with two mandolins, two guitars, a fiddle, and depending on the night the occasional Fender. They started the second set with some "Ants in My Pants," which really got the crowd ready for round two. The energy just kept on keeping on like a powder keg that had just been lit. "Oklahoma" followed giving Drew a nice chance for a little slide guitar on his Gibson Les Paul. Drew is a true renaissance man on whatever he is playing. He's one of the smoothest and most charismatic performers that I have ever seen
and to top it all of he is a heck of nice guy.
"River's Risen" was a second set standout. Jose and Greg got some nice work in the rhythm section a kept the ball rolling as they told us about a little "Shame and Scandal." "Rocky Road" brought us the nice sounds of Danny Nicely who joined the band on the mandolin for the rest of the set as they moved into a nice "High on the Mountain Top," which got the crowd swaying and got me "wondering where the years in my life have gone." The closing number "Weight Freight" gave us another look at Slinky and added the gift of Byron Legg on the Corona bottle. Laying down a thick timely whistle as the band maximized the atmosphere and brought the second set to a close. The
encore was an extensive "Doin My Time," and it was a nice trip into outer space because I hadn't been there in quite sometime. This band really has a gift for improvisation and I am glad to have been witness to it. Another fine Walther production and one of the best times you can have on two feet.
The fellas were nice enough to have me backstage, and I know what
you all are thinking and to answer your question McCheese was AWOL. I think he might actually be on sabbatical. A fascinating thing happened to me backstage though. I was witness to a certain unity that I hadn't seen before. When I asked Vince, Drew, and Bill to say a few words for JamBase they all replied with same response. They were grateful for the time they had with Tony and they wished Mark a speedy recovery. This was a true testament to the fact that great minds think alike and to me the true essence of a band. "It rained, beer poured, security came, we raged on," wise words from a gentleman and a scholar. For those of you that don't have any plans this weekend head on down to Sunshine Daydream for the Recipe Family Cookout where Leftover will be performing with Scott Vestle on banjo.
I thank the band for their time and ask a favor for all of you out in Jam Nation... Go See Live Music!
JamBase | Virginia
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