Cast Iron Filter | Iota | Arlington, VA

By Scooter
Cast Iron Filter has a Southern-fried sound that is equal parts fightin’ music and dancin’ music. They do it all with an earnest vibrancy that can shatter anyone’s mind with a screaming bell of conviction. They encountered some sound problems at the outset, the first problems in nine years at the Iota in NOVA. But that didn’t stop the skillet from fryin’ up some dadgum fine grizzle with a raging fire and grease. Actually, throughout the show, the swirling effect and the glitchy speakers were suffering from augmented sound in spots, creating a quadraphonic fade that was tragically lost on the more inebriated folks in the bar. However, we all could agree that although this band is young, it’s damn good. They’re cookin’ up barn-stormin’ boogie music to kick up your spirit in a dust storm of swirling goodness. Elements of bluegrass, old school country, and rockapsychobilly get so entangled in their kudzu of funk that you jes hafta surrender to its twisting coils and let it take you where it wants to go.

By Scooter
Dustin Edge has a very powerful voice that just fuels the entire vibe of Iron. It rides the music in a way seldom heard these days. He plays the harp and an acoustic six-gun, championing the heritage of tried and true Americana and it flows like the torrents of the Chatooga River. His message is clear and pure as his voice and on that night it was overwhelming. Mike Orlando is some weirdly inspiring wunderkind on the mandolin. He’s giving Jamie Masefield a run for his flow! If they ever get together the universe will collapse in on itself and be remade in the image of a fat, smiling hillbilly, crunked up on the most supreme of energies. Mike tears it up with a colossal groove that sends you spiraling off the tracks like a runaway steam engine possessed with the embers of the universe. To hear him pick is worth any price.

By Scooter
Now the rhythm section really floored me. They got wonder thunder. Brian Burton keeps the time, which when one soaks up their high–octane music makes for a thunderously heady mix. His limbs are ablaze atop that throne. However, as great as this band is, Mason Bisset just goes way out yonder. He is a being from another plane of existence and his bass is his uber-whip. The lil’ dude can freak on that Alembic! Early in the morning after the show when I was tryin’ to get some shuteye, I could still hear it thumpin’ out a frenetic, galactic encoded message from beyond the stars. Hell just to hear him twitch on that thing is worth any price as well.

By Scooter
The songs that made me grin the widest that night were “Sgt. Blue Kitty” and “Wreckless.” Both of these tracks are instrumental in nature, and although CIF’s distinct taste for the jam carries them throughout all of their songs, there is something indefatigable and profound about these tracks in the living environment. They pulse with power. The former is highly upbeat, the latter has a lurkingly treacherous feel.

“Tamarack” is another instrumental piece that they played during their encore and it too can really burn away all of your sorrows. They can hit the note and make you swell up with a breathless joy for life. As for the songs with the voice, “Running Free” and “When You Don’t Come Around” were exemplary. Dustin can flow with the music with a peculiar bounce and syncopation that’s just ineffably cool. During the encore they even broke out a powerful version of “Copperhead Road”!

If you want to hear some of the most dynamic bluegrass fusion out there, then the Cast Iron Filter is what you need to pour yourself through.

Laurin Wollan
JamBase | Northeast
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[Published on: 5/12/03]

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