The Infamous Stringdusters
20 April 2015 - Boulder Theater - Boulder, CO
for The Lot Scene by Parker
Setlist: Set 1 - Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (intro)> Winds of Change, The Hobo Song, Dream You Back, End of the Line, Summercamp> Walking on the Moon, Tragic Life, Head Over Heels, When Silence Is the Only Sound> Machines
Set 2 - Sunny Side of the Mountain> Two Hits and The Joint Turned Brown, I'll Get Away, Sentenced to Life with The Blues, No More to Leave You Behind, Rainbows, Don't Mean Nothin', Hazosphere, Rockets, Angeline the Baker> Wake Me Up, Lovin' You, This Weary Heart You Stole Away, Don't Think Twice It's All Right, Y2K
Encore - Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, Keep on Truckin’ (both with Gipsy Moon)
Note: This review is part of a continued collaboration between The Lot Scene and our new friends The Mischief Collective (www.themischiefcollective.com) with whom we are thrilled and honored to be working. Here’s to the beginning of a great friendship!!
So, after feeling like my musical palate had been delightfully worked over by Gipsy Moon like Rocky and a side of beef, it was time to continue our holiday celebrations with The Infamous Stringdusters. And with a head still full of great music from the afternoon’s flashpick, I was all-the-more ready for some more of that quick pickin’ sound that the Dusters do so very well. First on the docket? Well, given the date, how about an apropos intro teaser of Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”? I am sure you’re familiar with the chorus. Well, it certainly got us all instantly invested in the first set and when segued into the crowd-pleasing “Winds of Change” we were all fully onboard the Dusters Bluegrass Express once again. Second in line was Travis who stepped up next for a contemplative look on life through another’s eyes with “The Hobo Song”. Clearly the boys were enjoying themselves and they definitely took the time to tell us all so. Andy grabbed the mic for a second to express his gratitude for being able to be in Colorado and play in Boulder, “the center of the Universe today” as he described it. Of course, his gratitude was dwarfed by our own, eager and ready for the next song. There Jeremy-led “Dream You Back” broke into a wicked, hopping pace bringing immediate response in the form of hundreds of stomping feet and helping set the tone for the sine curve-shaped energy the rest of the show was to take (high energy song - slower, intense song, and back again). After the last chord faded out, Travis remarked how that was some “fast ass pickin’” — I honestly couldn't have said it any better myself. A really nice “End of the Line” led us to Booksy’s “Summercamp” which was treated to great ensemble jamming by the band, some lovely fiddle work by Jeremy, and even a bit of a reggaegrass feel at one point. All of which was played right into their well-known cover of the Police’s “Walking on the Moon”, a very welcome addition to the setlist that evening. Bringing that since curve down again slightly, we were given the mournful “Tragic Life” next, with Jeremy dolefully singing us into the ridiculous jams that happened throughout which brought the energy back up again, the evening truly a seesaw of musical experience. Especially the minutes-long back-and-forth free-for-all (complete with a tiny “Bird Song” teaser from Falco) that pushed this selection to the 9:30 mark for us. Just the kind of instrumental excellence I have come to appreciate and expect from this multitalented, super-skilled ensemble — all of whom get high marks for just spanking this song. Thanks, fellas!! Ah, nothing like a dobro-heavy intro to an Andy Hall solo like “Head Over Heels” which came next, but, then again I am bit biased towards the dobro. As the set drew to a close, “When Silence is the Only Sound” went straight into a whopping 13 minute “Machines” to finish things up. So much incredible playing and so much playfulness. Jam after solo after interlude and back again through a rich tapestry of sound and color, Hall’s dobro lines cheerfully reminding me of Pink Floyd’s Gilmour on electric circa 1990s, this instrumental was a standout favorite of mine from the entire Dusters Boulder Theater run. Plus, watching the live and natural interplay between the members of this band as they perform is pretty fascinating, such as Panda’s constant grinning as he leads a melodic line or some fantastic “Falco face” as the guitarist shreds the fretboard — and this epic “Machines” gave us all ample opportunity to observe the lot of them, lost in the musical divine. Certainly a rather satisfying end to the first set. Just the kind that makes you look forward to more!
It's always nice to catch up with good friends at set break, that perfect mix of merch runs, bar line standing, bathroom needs, and chit-chatting with the ones you call “chum”. Set break at Boulder Theater is always especially nice — just love my home venue. And home to some more Dusters in my life. And my face. “Sunny Side of the Mountain” began the second round of music with Travis coming out strong on the lead vocals and Jeremy gluing each verse together adeptly with his fiddle interludes or Andy Falco on this guitar. Add Hall and Pandolfi and, to quote (Arrested Development’s) Carl Weathers, “you got yourself a stew goin’!!” Which was exactly what we had as “Sunny” morphed into a five-part harmony “Two Hits and the Joint Turned Brown” which was littered with light-hearted 4/20 references, a most appropriate anthem for celebrating the show’s date properly. I’ve definitely never heard a version of this song with a badass grass slam at the end, but now I have, thanks to The Infamous Stringdusters. Bravi, boys! The mic belonged to Jeremy next for another personal fave of mine, “I’ll Get Away”, and a swift version at that. Man, do I love the harmonies in that song! Falco’s “Sentenced to Life with the Blues” took us to a lengthy “No More to Leave You Behind” that started out with a spacey, free form intro but finished with a truly explosive wave of sonic texture and timbre. So much ability on display on one stage. What a wild wonderful ride! The mildly melancholic “Rainbows” came after chased by “Don’t Mean Nothin’”. Next on the list was the 7:03 long instrumental tune, “Hazosphere”, a lively and speedy grass number which gave each member of the band ample opportunity to showcase their skills. Which they did. Amply. A seriously good jam from start to finish. Booksy sang us a pleasant “Rockets” followed by a Panda-intro-led, floor stomping “Angeline the Baker” which ran directly into “Wake Me Up” continuing the dancing, twirling, hopping energy and forming a nice Travis set of book-ends. An obvious crowd favorite to be sure. The slow, steady, rhythmic beginning of the subsequent “Lovin’ You” is always such a false representative of the mad rocking that comes near song’s end, with a little “Norwegian Wood” teaser from Falco and Panda I might add. Then it was time for some good old-fashioned bluegrass with The Stanley Brothers’ “This Weary Heart You Stole Away” which the Dusters honored in fine fashion with Jeremy’s vocals and fiddle anchoring in classic style. “Don't Think Twice, It's All Right” and “Y2K” closed out the set for the evening, the final instrumental being quite the face-melter. I honestly don’t know how human hands and fingers can move so quickly and yet so accurately as those of the Dusters. What a dazzling display of pure musical mastery. And it left the crowd elated, overjoyed, and thirsty for one more song. Except we got two. That’s right. The boys came back on stage and invited all of Gipsy Moon back as well…first for Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” (the full version this time — I guess the Dusters were determined that everybody get stoned) and then for John Hartford’s “Keep on Truckin’” both of which both bands simply nailed. I mean, you can’t, just cannot go wrong with a Dylan/Hartford double-barrel encore! And, when Travis changes the lyrics to “Keep on puffin’, puffin’ on down the road” you just can’t lose!! A really fantastic close to a supremely great night of music. And a truly memorable holiday. Thanks for all the puff-puff-pickin’ boys!! Same date, same place next year?