The huge patchwork curtain lifted as I stood in the pit with the three other photographers, and I felt the surge of excited energy from the crowd hit me like a wave. Almost immediately, I heard Jeff yell "Ready boys?!" and they started the show with "Peace of Mind". I was not ready for that. "My Gal" and "Mental Breakdown" followed, and by "Southbound" I had found my way back to my spot with my Kinfolk friends.
Adam and Ben sang the always lovely "Rain Still Falls", we all bounced as Jeff and Ben sang "Boatman", and we moved into a sway as Ben and Jeff sang "How Bout You". Then they decided to bust out two of my new favorites, "Little Lover" and "All the Time". These two songs were probably my highlight of the first set. Jeff then told us about the many reasons why he loves Chicago, one of them being that it's the home of Umphrey's McGee, and his good friend, Brendan Bayliss, who then joined the band on stage for "One More" and "Girlfriend is Better". Ok, I guess my first set highlights would extend through to the end, because these songs rocked pretty darn hard.
"Mother's Only Son" opened the second set, and the boys all brought their A-game as they rode the jams through the song, which included the elusive mandolin knock during Jeff's solo. Split Lip Rayfield's "Crazy" came next, followed by "Night Out", which Jeff introduced as one of his favorite songs Adam has ever written. I would have to agree - when Adam sings it - not the drunk gang of young girls behind us screaming the words in my ears. That was not my favorite. By this point, the crowd was really packed in behind us, and people were definitely getting pushy. Chicago shows are always great - the crowds, not so much. Another newer song, Jeff's "Lay It on the Line" was next. This one gives me goosebumps. They played a seriously funky "Criminal", which made me so happy that what we heard at Harvest Fest wasn't just a one-time funky fluke; and they played a fantastically aggressive "Raleigh and Spencer", which almost turned the already crazy floor into a sweaty bluegrass mosh pit.
Ben stepped up to introduce the next song by stating, "Beneath the sensitivity of this next number lies a lurking, hulking, sexual beast, who's name is Ben Kaufmann." It was a favorite of many, "Finally Saw the Light", followed by another favorite, "Another Day". There was a funny bit of confusion over a hat thrown on stage before the band started the final bit of music for the night, "Traffic Jam"> "Cuckoo's Nest"> "Dawn's Early Light"> "Shake Me Up"> "Traffic Jam". This "Traffic Jam" had such a great jam in it, with the band grouping together by Dave and trading solos back and forth. It's impossible not to notice the renewed enthusiasm this band has had over the past couple of years when you witness moments like these.
Their encore only consisted of one song, but it was a good "ass-shaker" - "Southern Flavor". I think this is a great encore song choice. They're making sure everyone goes to work the next day telling their coworkers how hard this Yonder Mountain String Band rocks.
Written by Dorothy St.Claire
|Yonder Mountain String Band|
11/10/11 House Of Blues, Chicago, IL
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