written by Dorothy St.Claire
Brown Bird opened the show with their gypsy sounds and got us all ready for this big night. I can't help but talk this band up, and I was happy to see so many people enjoy their set.
There was a giddy excitement in the air as we waited for Yonder to hit the stage. We were laughing down on the rail, Kevin was laughing as he did his final checks up on stage... It was going to be a good night.
The band came out, plugged in, Dave growled something into the mic, and "Fastball" started the show. I love when Yonder starts a show with this tune. It's like a wild and speedy introduction to what we're in for for the next 3 hours. "Southbound" came immediately out of "Fastball", and we started to hit our groove.
"We'll play some bluegrass music for ya, we're feeling a little feisty tonight... " Jeff grinned as he introduced Dave to sing an oldie next. I had a couple songs in mind, but was floored when "This Lonesome Heart" began. This is such a great song, and they don't play it nearly often enough. "I'll never leave you lonely, I'll just leave you alone." I mean come on! One of my favorite lines, ever. Ben and Adam sang the good old "Rain Still Falls" next, and then Ben took it to "My Gal". Jeff's "Over the Waterfall" intro was a bit different, and a lot more energetic than normal. Then Adam came in with his intro, and to make sure Jeff wasn't showing him up, he played his part with even more gusto than usual. "Ladies and gentlemen, Adam Aijala, ladies and gentlemen." Ben looked at me for a second before adding, "He can also play all the Metallica songs!" Wearing my old school "...And Justice for All" shirt that night, I gave a mighty holler at the mention of my favorite band of my youth. "This is me and Dave over here, check it out." Ben pointed to Dave, who responded with, "We don't perform on that part." Ben smiled, "Very secure with our own abilities." It was a really fun "My Gal" that got everyone moving and set the tone for the rest of the night.
"Crazy" came in next and slowed things down a bit. This isn't my favorite cover they play, but I still enjoy it, and I'll always take some Split Lip. Then Adam came through and picked things up with "Another Day". I love this simple bluegrass love song. The tone changed yet again with "East Nashville Easter", and a whole bunch of feedback and distortion. Adam really let go on this one. While Ben and Jeff sang "One of these days when the sun comes up..." his fingers were flying. His knees were bouncing. His eyes were closed and his mouth was hanging open. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. He was so far in the groove, but he soon pulled himself together and the song went on.
"A little late night love song for all of you people." Jeff said. "So in addition to the freaky scary new stuff, we like to play some of the old traditional music. About love and loss... and staplers and ball-gags. Here's a little tune called the 'Dominated Love Slave!'" Kick ass. This little gem never comes out of the vault, so we all danced extra hard as Dave sang, "I love feeling dirty, and I love feeling cheap". They were throwing us an interesting mix of songs tonight, and next they went back to the classics with "Sometimes I've Won". This song makes me so happy, and I love to just close my eyes and let this one really sink in. It was getting to be just about that time, and the set-ending sandwich started with Adam. It started soft and inconspicuously enough, but once that spotlight hit him, he played with purpose. He strummed and strummed and strummed until a big "Oklahoma" erupted and the whole crowd lost it. Then somehow "Little Rabbit" came out of "Oklahoma". It was perfect. Adam got super funky as he brought "Oklahoma" back in, and when the whole band jumped in and Dave took over, we were all in our happy place.
The set break started, and I was boiling hot. I visited the restroom, where I got a fresh supply of wet brown paper towels, then busted through the backstage doors to get outside for some fresh air. I was so overcome by the wonderfully cold fresh air and the smell of the brown paper towels (it's my strange addiction... don't ask) that I didn't immediately notice what was happening around me. I burst outside, took a deep huff from my paper towels, then looked around and saw that Jeff and Ted were just staring at me. Jeff said to me, "I've seen some weird things, but that's f*ckin' weird."
I went back inside after a few minutes and spent the rest of my set break hanging around the merch booth, talking with some new Kinfolk friends. I can't believe how lucky I am that I get to keep meeting so many wonderful people through this band. The street team for this show worked extra hard, and it was great to get to meet some of these dedicated Kinfolk. Seriously, Yonder has the best fans in the world.
"Are you folks ready for some more?" Jeff asked as the boys came back to the stage for their second set. The sold-out crowd roared and the set started with "Criminal" and a lively "Illinois Rain". I love "Illinois Rain", but what really makes this song is when Dave and Adam break it down together before the last verse comes in. They played it perfectly and followed it up with a great "Night Out".
We still had yet to get any banter during this set, which was pretty unusual for these guys. Especially on a night when they were having so much fun. But as Jeff counted down and the band started "You're No Good", I could see that they were just excited to play some music and weren't going to waste any time gettin' to the good stuff. "Get along, Dave! Alright!" Dave hollered before kicking all of our butts as he raged through his solo.
Finally, Ben stepped up to the mic and told us a little about a girl he used to know. "I thought I saw her the other day on the Internet, but then one of the fellas walked into the room, I had to turn the computer off real quick. So I wasn't ever able to find out." Everyone started laughing. "Here's a very romantic song with rhymes in it." Ben said with a smile. It was a beautiful "Must've Had Your Reasons", which kept the smiles on all of our faces. Adam came back into the spotlight next with "All the Time". Seriously, it was Adam's night. Fingers Malone came out full force for this show, playing so fast, so precise, and just so damn good! He proved it again right away when he took "One More" off the charts as Jeff wailed into the microphone. But let me tell you, Dave was no slouch on this one, either. He did some fun things on his banjo, and I think I enjoyed this song more than I have in quite a long time.
"Well thank you, folks." Jeff said. "Let's play some John Hartford music for all you people in this piece." We all thought that was a good idea as well, so Ben sang us the "Howard Hughes Blues". It was lovely, and was followed by another cover, Jimmy Cliff's "Harder They Come".
I took a deep breath after "Harder They Come", and I was just so happy to be right where I was. With some of my dearest friends and our favorite band. It was a great moment, but I was brought back by the sound of Ben's voice. "Everybody say 'Play us a banjo song, Dave!'" Ben directed the crowd, and everyone yelled. "Sure thing, Indianapolis." I love banjo songs, and Dave came through with the unexpected "Easy as Pie". Fun! Then right away Jeff came in and started strumming "Girlfriend is Better". Oh man, I was definitely ready for a little "Girlfriend". It was funky. It was dirty. "Baby that's all that we n-n-n-n-need!" And it really was all that I needed, because the funk just got funkier when "Robots" suddenly became the meat in the "Girlfriend" sandwich. Yes, I said it. As "Girlfriend" came to an end, it was obviously the end of the show... but not quite. "Bolton Stretch" came in and brought us through with a bang.
The encore brought us past midnight, into Lori's birthday, and started with "Fine Excuses". Not my number one choice for an encore. But luckily, we were getting a nice two-song encore, and it continued with an "...And Justice For All" tease (thank you!) before finishing us off with "Southern Flavor". This was yet another fantastic show, and a great start to Lori's birthday and 100th show celebration!
Written by Dorothy St.Claire
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