written by Rebecca Ray
Austin, Texas would be the first show of seven we anticipated seeing on Yonder’s 2012 Spring Tour, so to say Brian and I were excited to see this show would be a huge understatement. As usual, we arrived for line duty far too early, as the Austin crowd did not show up before the show until about 45 minutes before doors. We were particularly stoked for this show because we were traveling with two of our best friends from Colorado who had relatively few Yonder shows under their belt.
We spent the first set on the rail, but quickly realized that the Austin crowd was filled with obscene amounts of fraternity boys, none of whom could handle their liquor intake. We should have brought football pads for this show, as said fraternity boys attempted on several occasions to steamroll us. No crowd has ever ruined a Yonder show for me and Yonder’s energy and great playing certainly made up for this aspect.
Yonder started the first set with "Sideshow Blues", followed by one of our favorite Adam tunes, "Pockets". After "Pockets", the boys played a great "My Gal" with their typical jammy intro, which got the crowd fired up for this show in one of Austin’s greatest music venues. After "My Gal", Dave played one of his new songs, "Don’t Worry Happy Birthday", which was debuted for the first time over the NYE run this past year. The song is still growing on me. The middle of the first set was my favorite part, when the boys went right into one of my favorite Burle songs of all time, "Blue Collar Blues". Brian absolutely loves this song. After "Blue Collar Blues", the boys jammed into a solid "Years with Rose". Surprisingly, the "Years with Rose" was a stand alone version with no real jam or segue. Overall, our biggest criticism of the show was the lack of jams and segues. After "Years with Rose", was "Shake Me Up". Jeff’s energy during this song was felt throughout the venue and you could tell they were really grooving by this point in the show. After "Shake Me Up", was one of Brian’s favorite Ben songs, "Straight Line". This was a great spot for this song, right after a solid chunk of music and right before the last chunk of music for the first set. The set closed with a very good "New Horizons"> "Only a Northern Song"> "New Horizons". One of Brian’s favorite Adam solos is at about the 6 minute mark of "Only a Northern Song", and the Iceman did not disappoint!! He was on fire, as he almost invariably brings his A+ game to every show.
We decided to get some breathing room for the second set, and danced towards the back of the venue with two of our closest friends from Denver. This was the best decision we made all night. The sound, lights and crowd were awesome towards the back of the venue and we had ample room to get down. Yonder started the second set with Brian’s second favorite Adam song, "All the Time". The rythym and poetry of this song are truly incredible and Adam’s guitar licks are out of this world. Dave then went into "Ripcord Blues", which we absolutely love because we think the melody brings out the best in Dave’s voice. Jeff then went into a solid "Too Late Now", which got the Austin crowd fired back up for the second set. The next chunk of music in the second set would feature some rare bluegrass gems, which made the trip to Austin very worthwhile. The next song Jeff dedicated to the late Earl Scruggs: "Polka on the BANJO"! We want to personally thank Max Knoedelseder for this song, because if it were not for Max requesting this song from Dave in Lawrence in 2010, I am confident it would not be back in Yonder’s rotation to stay. After throwing down the "Polka", Ben went into "Ooh La La" and had the crowd singing along to every word. The next two songs were true bluegrass treats as Jeff sang "Going to the Races" followed by Adam busting out "Big Spike Hammer". We are lucky to get the "Big Spike Hammer" a couple of times a year, so we were thrilled once Adam sang this to us. Dave then brought out his brand new banjo, which followed Ben joking about the “fresh, new, slaughterhouse smell” of the new banjo. Ben also joked and said if you have been paying attention at all for the last 14 years, you all will know which song was next, as it’s the only song they play with a different banjo. As you can guess, the boys went into "Just the Same". I absolutely love this song! "Postcard to My Son from Jail" was next, followed by "Cuckoo’s Nest". The next chunk of music would close the show and Ben started it with "Looking Back Over My Shoulder". A stand alone "Traffic Jam" was next followed by "2 Hits". Nothing legendary, but still solid playing by the boys. We were a bit surprised they did not jam these songs out more, but they were still great nonetheless. The second set closed with Bill Monroe’s "Southern Flavor", one of my favorite instrumental songs Yonder plays.
Overall, we had an awesome experience in Austin and the boys definitely brought their “A” game. What a great start to our Spring Tour Extravanganza!
Written by Rebecca Ray
|Yonder Mountain String Band|
4/6/12 Stubb's, Austin, TX
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