Yonder Mountain String Band
February 18, 2011
Bringing their Cabin Fever tour to the Madison Theater in Covington, KY, Yonder Mountain String Band took the stage for a sold-out night of blistering mountain jam music. Fans jammed the sidewalks and streets a full hour before the show began, with handmade tokens of affectionâ€” ranging from signs to a bass guitar â€”that were presented to Ben Kaufmann before the show began.Â Visibly moved, Kaufmann thanked Luthier Beau Elston for his amazing gift. While he made his way back to club, he stopped to listen to shouted song requests; reciting the first three to himself so he would not forget.Â That kind of fan interaction, along with this social networking silliness that the band delves into that is coupled with the plain and simple good time vibe they put off has transformed them into a musical powerhouse.
Speaking of playing, banjoist Dave Johnston showed he was a true gamer, going on in spite of a bandaged right hand that cost him the use of two of his picking fingers. The injury did anything but handicap him, as evidenced by the frenzied sounds emitted from his amplifier. On stage, the congenial Kauffman alternated between his tradition standup bass and the new strapped model he had just received, playing both with deep resonance, even bowing a few numbers.
Guitarist Adam Aijala has taken his picking to a new level. Many times throughout the evening the fluidity in his play seemed to make everything fade backwards; singing and playing with an assuredness that demanded not just attention but amazement at the dexterity of his runs.
Speaking of attention, the king of the stageâ€”the mythical man beast Jeff Austin was in full madman mode. He cracked out mad sparks from his mandolin Austin played his role of front man with a sense of style few modern bands share.Â So comfortable in his own skin, the rubber faced Austin contorted his face and body the same way he bent his strings; with maximum effect gotten from both.
Forgoing an opening act, Yonder took the opportunity to stretch out and played two long sets of classic numbers, new songs, covers and rave ups that showed their versatility.Â Over the course of the three hours of jams laid down, it was no surprise that that they managed to get in all three requests that had been shouted out to Ben, including Pink Floyd’s “Goodbye Blue Sky.”
That shows how much love this ensemble has for the faithful. As the crowd spilled out into the cold Kentucky night â€” bedraggled and satisfied â€” the joy on their faces told the tale plain and true: Yonder Mountain String Band had made all the worries disappear like the sun slipping behind the mountains they call home.
I: Cuckoo’s Nest, Complicated, Country Boy Rock n’ Roll, Hit Parade, Funtime, New Horizons>Left Me In A Hole>New Horizons, It Takes A Lot to Laugh It Takes a Train to Cry, Picture In A Tear, Night Out, Ain’t Know Way of Knowing, Steam Powered Aero-plane, On the Run> East Nashville
II:Steep Grade, Redbird, Isolate, Pockets, Granny Woncha Smoke Some, New Speedway Boogie, Little Rabbit, Mother’s Only Son>What the Night Brings>Mother’s Only Son, Polly Put the Kettle On, Holding, Piece Of Mind >Girlfriend is Better> Piece Of Mind, Goodbye Blue Sky,
Encore: Just Like The Old Times (debut),Up on the Hill Where They Do the Boogie
To download the audience recording of this show, please click here.