Show Review – Yonder Mountain String Band, 12/29/12, Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO


Written by Kayla Clancy

Night two was upon us, and tonight a fiddle would be joining Yonder on stage courtesy of special guest Jason Carter from The Del McCoury Band. Before the show starts Kinfolk fill up Georgeʼs next door for some pre-show festivities. Dave, Jeff, Ben,and Adam made a quick appearance to mingle before sound check. It was great to give the guys a hug and share a laugh before the show; I couldnʼt be more grateful that the band we all love are not only amazing musicians, but also amazing people.

Before long doors are open, and itʼs Yonder time. The night is off to a running start with ʻPretty Daughterʼ, which sure sounded great with that fiddle. The vibes inside the Boulder Theatre had picked right back up where they left off, which meant we were in for a rowdy night. Up next is ʻSometimes Iʼve Wonʼ, which is accompanied by some nice banjo soloing and Benʼs ever so charming vocals. The pickin continues right into an instrumental named ʻStropheʼ, highlighting Adamʼs strumming.

ʻToo Late Nowʼ treats us to a solid sampling of string soloing, and then itʼs Adamʼs turn to serenade us with a mellow ʻRain Still Fallsʼ. Hearing the fiddle jam inʻDamned If The Right One Didnʼt Go Wrongʼ was also a nice treat, definitely adding to the bluegrass vibe.

The boys dedicate the next song, ʻMaybe You Will Change Your Mindʼ to the recently passed Mike Auldridge of Seldom Scene, naming the band as one of their influences. Jeff adds, “If you donʼt know the music of Mike Auldridge when youʼre in your hotel room and theres 35 people in there tonight throw on some of his music and Iʼll guarantee you’ll dig it.”

Dig it we did. Jeff also mentions that Jason and his fiddle will be joining Yonder on most of the first leg of their winter tour this January. A new, unnamed instrumental was up next. Adamʼs guitar playing was the main focus, complimented by some more fiddle.

Afterwards Ben adds, “I noticed today that my lips were about as chapped as they had ever been in my life. It was remarkable. I remarked upon it.” From down the stage comes, “To reiterate what Dave said yesterday, California softie.”

The silliness comes to a close as another Dave favorite, ʻDonʼt Worry Happy Birthdayʼ starts up. The crowd sways along as serene banjo riffs fill the air. Yet, it seems the pace is about to quicken when Dave asks, “You folks ready to stretch out a bit?”

And with that comes a familiar ʻLooking Back Over My Shoulderʼ. Thereʼs a solid acoustic solo from Adam and the banjo comes in to finish off the song. No time is wasted as ʻDeath Tripʼ begins. As the verse breaks we venture into the land of space and fiddle. In the mix is a little Phish ʻFunky Bitchʼ and then back into ʻDeath Tripʼ to finish off the first set.

The break is over in a flash and its back up to the rail. A little ʻBlue Collar Bluesʼstarts things off, and a fiddle-filled ʻVamp In The Middleʼ is next. The boys had played this down at Strings & Sol so it was a pleasant surprise to get to hear it on the NewYears run.

Next itʼs a hurricane of strings in ʻKentucky Mandolinʼ. Some deep bass notes fill the theater during the accompanying jam, and as the verse comes back some mando is served. A “bluegrass number” is up next, ʻDonʼt Let Your Deal Go Downʼ. It keeps the crowd moving before weʼre all singing along to ʻHoldinʼ.

An upbeat ʻCasualtyʼ follows, and itʼs clear weʼre all enjoying it. I glance down the rail and see all the Kinfolk dancing away. Thatʼs the great thing about a New Years run;the theater is filled with some serious Yonder fans.

The crowd favorites keep on coming with ʻPocketsʼ. This version was a little quieter than others Iʼve heard, but I enjoyed it just the same. The fiddle added some nice dimension to the song.

The next song, ʻPan Americanʼ, is another Seldom Scene cover. Ben shares that Mike Auldridge was part of a sound he fell in love with. “Itʼ s a powerful thing to fall in love with a sound,” he says. The audience cheers in agreement.

My friendʼs pleas had apparently been heard as Ben mentions, “Earlier in the audience I heard someone yell, ʻslap that thing Benʼ. Iʼve narrowed it down to three things it could possibly be. Iʼm gonna do two of those things during this next song to Dave.” We get a good laugh out of that as the dancin rhythm of ʻRipcord Bluesʼ begins.

Thereʼs some great a cappella-like soloing preceding the ʻMy Galʼ that comes next. Adam breaks it down on the guitar, and everyone else joins in as the song rolls along. The groovy melodies were not in short supply thus far in the set, and as that ʻMyGalʼ turns into ʻSnow On The Pinesʼ I know the Boulder Theater is about to erupt into some righteous Yonderness.

Itʼs this aspect of Yonder that I enjoy most; itʼs a totally different type of experience to hear a band with bluegrass instruments start to jam hard, and be able to so easily transition from a more bluegrass prominent sound to a rockin throw down,which is exactly what you get with a song like Snow.

As it plays on, the jam near the end got real funky with the use of some foot pedals, and then right back into a charged chorus. The crowd energy hits a definite peak as everyone shouts and sings. Then, just like that the boys bring the bluegrass vibe back with a killer ʻRaleigh & Spencerʼ, probably one of my favorites that Iʼve heard.The energy from the preceding Snow set the song up for a fiery delivery, which is evident from the cheering theater. And like that the second set ends with a bang.

The boys come back up and start their encore with a steady paced ʻNight Outʻ,highlighted with some banjo and fiddle. A ʻclassic bluegrassʻ number, ʻDim Lights Thick Smokeʻ comes next. Itʼs a slower song, with some fast pickin teases near the end.

“Weʼve got one more for ya,” Jeff says, and an upbeat ʻTroubled Mindʼ begins.After the electric Snow/Raleigh conclusion, it was a good way to end the night. As the boys leave the stage the usual, comical house music plays. This time itʼs Nellyʼs ʻHot in Hereʼ. What a night; two down, and two to go.