Words by: Alicyn Lane | Images by: Brian Hockensmith
Yonder Mountain String Band with The Infamous Stringdusters :: 03.01.12 :: Newport Music Hall :: Columbus, OH
Full photo gallery below review!
By the time Yonder Mountain String Band’s Cabin Fever Tour hit Columbus it was in full effect as they were selling out shows left and right. Every winter, Columbus fans can always prepare for an inevitable showdown of never-miss-a-beat string picking in their hometown for Cabin Fever, but this run was different. Yonder should know that they can always count on their Columbus base to turn out and rock out every time. That’s why this year they changed it up a bit by bringing their music closer to the hearts of their tried and true fans for a more intimate show at the historical Newport Music Hall, the longest continually running rock club in America. The venue change was only one of many reasons why this particular show was so slow cooked in epic-ness. Usually The LC in downtown Columbus hosts the event with security and staff attempting to control the always extraordinarily stoked energy of Yonder fans. Indoor shows at The LC can hold an average of 2,200 fans, while Newport Music Hall holds capacity at 1,700.
|The Infamous Stringdusters by Brian Hockensmith|
On a Thursday night, on the last leg of their tour, the walls of Newport Music Hall were literally rocked off even before the boys took the stage for yet another sold out evening. The Infamous Stringdusters, who opened up the night for Yonder, eased the crowd into bluegrass dancing mania, and the night was quickly a hit. There was no surprise to see the turnout as people were packed all the way to the back of the floor and the balcony areas. Surrounded on all fronts, Yonder kicked off the first set with a high energy opener of “Sideshow Blues” (a classic Todd Snider cover). It wouldn’t be a Yonder Mountain show without a plethora of fantastic covers of bluegrass songs and beyond, and “Sideshow Blues” was followed by “Night Out,” “Easy As Pie,” and “Steep Grade Sharp Curves,” where Yonder kicked up the heat.
There is rarely a lack of classic Jeff Austin banter during a set. This time, he added a little filler between a sometimes too-standard “Complicated” and an always welcome “Peace of Mind” with a fine example of storytelling as he reminisced about his near fatal encounter with a Blue Nissan earlier that day on High St. Luckily, Jeff was alive and well to shred his trusty mandolin, and played a long, jammed out “Peace of Mind” as homage to still being alive and kickin’. Dave Johnston then tickled the crowd with his fine singing and banjo picking on “Don’t You Lean on Me.”
|Yonder Mountain String Band by Brian Hockensmith|
The next noteworthy moment came when they threw out somewhat of a Yonder rarity and played “Sharecropper’s Son,” one of their oldest tunes. The boys then brought out The Stringdusters’ Jeremy Garrett on the fiddle for a fantastic mash up of “New Horizons > They Love Each Other > New Horizons” to end the first set. Grateful Dead covers are always well received when reinvented by Yonder’s bluegrass magic, but “They Love Each Other” appeared to strike a special chord with the audience that unleashed an undeniable energy of love throughout the room.
The night sped up as set two was put into motion, diving right in with “Funtime” and another classic John Hartford cover, “Up On the Hill Where They Do the Boogie.” The rest of the night seemed to rush over the crowd in a surge of musical light, energy and fun as fans were treated to Adam Aijala’s awesome singing and guitar picking on “Corona,” followed by “Fine Excuses” and “Fastball.” There was no slowing down as the boys continued to churn out hit after hit with “Left Me in a Hole,” “Rag Doll,” and “Troubled Mind.” Next, “Cuckoo’s Nest” and “On the Run > High Cross Junction > On the Run” were tweaked and made brighter with a little bit of Stringduster shine with Andy Hall joining them on dobro, which added a feeling of winding and turning slides and reels to each song.
|Yonder Mountain String Band by Brian Hockensmith|
But the best was yet to come. Just when the crowd prepared for the end of the show, as we awaited the band’s to return to the stage for their encore, to everyone’s surprise, one by one, each member of The Infamous Stringdusters arrived to join Yonder. One of the craziest versions of “Kentucky Mandolin” ever witnessed went down as Ben Kaufmann and Travis Book traded the bass back and forth until they were actually playing it at the same time. Meanwhile, The Dusters and rest of Yonder proceeded to shred in unison before they headed right into “Jesus On The Mainline” to end the encore. However, they returned for a surprise double encore of “Shady Grove.” Usually there’s a cut off at The Newport, but this time it was clear that the magic would not be short lived. That fact alone sums up the importance and significance of this Yonder Mountain show, which was one for the record books.
Yonder Mountain String Band Tour Dates :: Yonder Mountain String Band News
The Infamous Stringdusters Tour Dates :: The Infamous Stringdusters News
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