Brooklyn Bowl - Brooklyn, NY (July 18, 2012)

written by Mark Burnell

Let me start by telling you how excited I was that the Yonder boys were finally going to be playing this room. Brooklyn Bowl is hands down my favorite venue in NYC - it's relaxed and friendly, has nice acoustics and great food, and everything is very reasonably priced.  I'd been bugging Ben Hines for almost two years to work his magic and get the band a gig here. The last 4 years Yonder has had their NYC shows at the Nokia Theater in Times Square; which, while a fairly prestigious venue with a truly state of the art sound system, is as corporate as a venue can get - and one of the most expensive rooms in the city to eat and drink at - and it really lacks atmosphere. As we all know, part of the magic of a Yonder show is the energy that passes back and forth between the band and the crowd, and somehow the Nokia would suck some of that energy up.

When the Brooklyn Bowl show was announced, we quickly assembled a Kinfolk crew from far and wide - Melissa Rae from Boston, Kurt Durr from the Poconos, and Dawn Ferringo from all the way in New Hampshire - that's how certain we were that this was going to be an epic night.  And we weren't wrong.

The day of the show saw some of the strongest thunderstorms and the hardest rain that New York had seen in a long, long time - it rained so hard that parts of the venue were under an inch of water about a half hour before doors!  Thanks to the hard work of the guys with mops and squeegees, everything was dry before we got in there, and we were there plenty early to grab a rail spot and catch up with old Kinfolk friends like the Katzs, who had driven up from Baltimore.  Anticipation was high as the boys took the stage and opened with - what else in the circumstances? "New Horizons".  It was a great one, too, with a surprise funky "Kentucky Mandolin" in the middle - a fairly rare pairing. 

The rest of the first set was nicely balanced, with everyone taking lead vocals on at least two songs, and the closing "Angel"> "Riverside"> "Angel" was ferocious.  I'm not a huge "Angelside" fan, as I think the best "Riversides" come from a slow beginning, and I love the gradual building up of steam before the song finally explodes; but this breakneck version may be my favorite ever pairing of these two songs.  My highlight of the first set had to be the whoops of joy coming from Kurt Durr as they started "Troubled Mind"> "20 Eyes"> "Troubled Mind". It's been at the top of his wish list for a very long time, and he finally got it. Suffice it to say, he was a very happy man, indeed.

Set two had another terrific set list, with a song I'd never seen live ("Don't Worry Happy Birthday" - a keeper!), and a couple of old favorites not often in rotation ("Maid of the Canyon") and a "One More" that was very funky indeed, with Jeff going nuts on his wah wah pedal.  And the closing "Snow on the Pines"> "Cuckoo's Nest"> "Snow on the Pines"> "Raleigh and Spencer" was just off the hook.  A sweet double Hartford encore, the night was done, and the crowd filed out, buzzing and happy.

An amazing night in an amazing venue.  The energy in the room was palpable, and it's been a while since a New York City Yonder show could boast that.  While talking to Ben afterwards, he said the band noticed the difference from the stage, and definitely wants to come back to Brooklyn Bowl - maybe for more than one night next time. Bring it on!  It's also worth noting that, judging from the chatter on the local NYC music boards, there were a lot of people in attendance who hadn't seen Yonder in some time, purely because of Nokia avoidance - and the talk afterwards was of how damned hot the show was, and how it was a perfect venue for them...

Special thanks to Ben Hines for the extra stage speakers for the rail riders - perhaps the only place in the room where the sound can be a tad muffled, but not tonight. 

Written by Mark Burnell, with photos by his talented sister in law, Ester Segretto 

You can find more of Ester's photos here.

Also check out Mark's friend Justin Marinoff's recording of the show here.
Yonder Mountain String Band
7/18/12 Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY

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