Show Review – Yonder Mountain String Band, 12/28/12, Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO


Written by Kayla Clancy

After counting down for weeks since the end of Fall tour, it was time for some much awaited Yonder. Night one of the hometown throw down was here, and we were ready. Approaching the lit up marquee, the chilly Colorado air quickly faded as warm smiling faces of Kinfolk filled the space out front the Boulder Theatre. Inside filled up before long, and a quick glance confirmed what I had just heard beside me.!

“Itʼs happening”.!

The boys walked on stage and got things started with an upbeat ʻWhat The Night Brings’ as if to show us this evening would be just as awesome as anticipated. And to the satisfaction of everyone around a solid ʻStraight Lineʼ followed. The vibe was established real quick, which Ben confirmed.!

“Fantastic energy in here tonight!”

“Nothing like planet home,” Dave says

Itʼs Adamʼs turn to chime in as he starts singing ʻAnother Dayʼ. As the chorus hits,everyone sings a long. The crowd definitely knew the words to the ʻCome Togetherʼ that came next. While Iʼm partial to the Dead covers, the energy they pull from the crowd is definitely noticeable; Yonder loves their Beatles songs.

Before the next one gets going Ben asks, “How you doing tonight Dave?”

“Wild Card,” he replies. “I might say a whole lotta stuff; I might say nothing at all.”

Quiet laughs fill the pause awaiting what golden comment might be next, but a drawn out remark fills the space instead, announcing that ʻLittle Loverʼ is next. Dave always entertains, be it with banter or banjo.

A mellow instrumental named ʻWildewood Driveʼ follows with some bass lines courtesy of Ben Kaufmann. The pleasant tone continues with ʻYears with Roseʼ and the pickinʼ picks back up as the boys play into a fast ʻBolton Stretchʼ.

“Big Dave Johnston” sings the next song, ʻBig Spike Hammerʼ. And then just like that its time for a ʻNew Horizonsʼ. Always a crowd favorite; weʼre all dancing now. The song plays into a zesty jam and breaks way into ʻSteep Grade Sharp Curvesʼ. We all sing along before falling back into another deep bass-bowing filled jam. The energy of the crowd peaks again as ʻNew Horizonsʼ finishes off an electric first set.

After some wandering around the theater, drinks are refreshed and the crowd is ready for more. Some nice soloing from Dave and then Adam in ʻElzicʼs Farewellʼ get the second set going. The banjo goodness rolls on through ʻSideshow Bluesʼ and the dark ʻlullabyʼ, ʻFingerprintʼ.

More banter ensues as Ben mentions to Dave he was cold outside. Wild card chimes in, “youʼre one of those California softies, arenʼt ya.” We get a laugh out of that as ʻComplicatedʼ starts.

One of my favorite Adam songs, ʻLeft Me In A Holeʼ comes next. The crowd acts as a back up choir of sorts as we all belt out the familiar words. As the song comes to an end Jeff adds, “You guys are doing a real good job upholding what the citizens of Colorado passed; I’m really proud of you…you’re doing great work…keep it up.” No problem Jeff.

ʻClassic Situationʼ, which hadnʼt been pulled out in a while, was followed by an awesome ʻTenʼ. Given the length of the song there were some solid jams to be had. At times the strings are quieter, slowly building up and exploring before finding each other;then the jam really ignites. Sometimes thereʼs just a spark, other times itʼs pure magic.Yet, I digress.

As ʻTenʼ finishes Ben tells the crowd, “Iʼm gonna sing you a love song dammit!”And with that a soulful ʻMustʼve had your Reasonsʼ begins. The quasi-love songs continue with ʻYouʼre No Goodʼ. An always enjoyable, ʻAnd Your Bird Can Singʼ is then followed by a ʻSteam Powered Aeroplaneʼ cover.

Another great Ben song, ʻMotherʼs Only Sonʻ plays out next. As the boys get into it I can barely keep track of the strings Iʼm hearing; itʼs great. The song plays into a charged ʻIllinois Rainʼ. Those dancin shoes? Yea, theyʼre back.

Just like that the second set is over, and after an upbeat close we were ready for that encore. It starts up with ʻWhatʼs Going On In The Head of That Womanʼ. Weʼre all singing once again as ʻAt The End Of The Dayʼ gives way; you could feel the Yonder joy in the air. To close they pull out ʻRedbirdʼ, which left a little to be desired after that high energyʻIllinois Rainʼ, but I was more than satisfied. Three Yonder-filled nights lay ahead of us, and the boys weʼre just getting started.