Yonder Mountain String Band
October 14, 2008
Yonder Mountain String Band’s visit to the Madison Theater in Covington, Kentucky on October 12 had all the trappings of a pre Halloween type of experience. The band’s appearance, the first in a couple of years, was a tightly wound trip through their vast catalog, with the occasional cover thrown in for good measure. And, the travelers that infiltrated the Madison brought a festival vibe that connected to the stage and back out from YMSB to the back of the house.
Beginning with "Fine Excuses," mandolin virtuoso Jeff Austin engaged the masses with loose soloing and clear, vibrant singing. The compositions "Ain’t Been Myself in Years" and "Sidewalk Stars" from 2006’s self titled Vanguard Records release soon followed, whipping the entire venue into a frenzy.
Guitarist Adam Aijala combined forces with banjo specialist Dave Johnston on "Winds of Wyoming" and "Belle Parker," and bassist Ben Kaufmann serenaded the tightly packed floor and balcony with "To See You Coming ‘Round the Bend." An involving take on the Rolling Stones’ "No Expectations" had more than a few singing the lyrics back to Austin and company.
After taking a short break, the group once again thanked the crowd and local radio station for their support before ripping into "Ten," and starting a whirlwind set that had the twirlers spinning aggressively throughout the Madison’s confines. "Peace of Mind" wound into "Red Tail Lights" before bottoming out on "Pow Wow the Indian Boy." YMSB were on a roller coaster roll, and Kaufman’s humorous delivery of "My Gal" only added to the giddy atmosphere among Yonder’s anticipatory legions.
The bluegrass quartet took a twisting path towards "Out of the Blue," combining it with JJ Cale’s "If You’re Ever in Oklahoma," before ending the second set with a return windup on "Out of the Blue."
The ovation sustained the ensemble for a good five minutes backstage until they rewarded the Covington complex with the double encore of "Part 1 ( Lord Only Knows)" and a memorable evening finale of "Crazy." It was heady stuff, and one of Yonder Mountain String Band’s best ever performances in the Northern Kentucky area.