Sunday, November 14, 2010

Yonder Mountain String Band, 10/28 & 29, Burlington & Boston

Yonder Mountain String Band:
10/28/10, Higher Ground, Burlington, VT...
& 10/29/10, House of Blues, Boston, MA

As we begin, allow me to apologize for the lateness of the next few reviews. I just wrapped a much delayed long-term project on the God Street Wine reunion shows this Summer for State of Mind Music, which you should also check out. All the while, I've been busting at the seams with excitement about how awesome these Yonder Mountain String Band shows were.

Okay, so 10/23, I was standing there watching Phish in Amherst the day after the Yonder NYC show and all I could think about was how badly I wanted to see Yonder again. Yes, really. Because they are awesome and the show at the Nokia, Best Buy, Bowels of 1515 was great, but it was like a palate tease. Please Sirs, I want some more. As the Vermont dates crept closer, I finally said "fuck it" and decided to make my first trip to The New^ Higher Ground to rock some more Yonder.

This is how the conversation went when I called my brother to tell him I was definitely heading up to Burlington and would be crashing at his house:
Lynn: Yonder Mountain String Band is playing at Higher Ground and I'm gonna come up for the show tomorrow.
Dave: I'm getting over being really really sick. I had a 103 fever last week and I'm still wiped out.
Lynn: Okay, but you're feeling better now?
Dave: Yes, but I'm not recovered at all.. Come up next week instead. You can come up for 2 weeks starting next week if you want.
Lynn: Yes, but Yonder is playing tomorrow.
Dave: Can't you see them some other time?
Lynn: No, because they are playing there tomorrow.
Dave: Lynn, I feel like shit.
Lynn: I'll bring some of Mom's chicken soup. See you tomorrow!

THURSDAY, 10/28/10

Dude... Yonder!!!

I hauled ass to Burlington, but when I called Higher Ground to ask when the band was getting on, they told me 9:30pm. So, Eric D. and I met up and took our time heading in, enjoyed the full body cavity search, checked out the small room which looked exactly like the old location except on some bizarro room-sized scale. We reminisced over a few posters from the old place (awww)... annnnnd walked in as Yonder started Sharecropper's Son, apparently missing the first 5 songs (about 20 minutes in). FUUUUUUCK. Sideshow Blues opener too! I suck!

The place was packed. We spent most of the first set on a ramp in the far back- I was psyched to be able to see and super-psyched I made the trip up. My immediate reward was a kickin' Death Trip! Then The Misfits' 20 Eyes, which was freakin' AWESOME. A lovely Mossy Cow, dark Not Far Away, bouncy You're No Good, beautiful Dawn's Early Light -> a sweet Winds of Wyoming -> 2 Hits, which is seriously, just a huge fucking tease in a venue as anti-smoking as the New Higher Ground.

Eric's not so hot on bluegrass, but he was giving it a fair chance, so big ups for that. He didn't look convinced. Which is why he wouldn't stand waaaay up front with me for the 2nd set. That and there were crazy kids full of beer and energy concentrated in the area--- but still! C'monnnnnn! As soon as the music started he ran back!

I made friends with a very nice girl in the front who's boyfriend was shitfaced and spilled beer in her basket of sweet potato fries, which was just about the saddest thing I saw all night. Towards the tail-end of the show he was actually throwing stuff at the band. They love that. What a gem! Anyways, at some point he disappeared and I inherited his spot on the rail which was awwwwe-some! This was my first time up on the Dave-side rail! It should go without saying that I enjoyed it muchly, yes.

Set II was amazing. A fun Only A Northern Song to start it off, a clearly subliminal Southbound (more on that later), a fast and driving If Loving You Is Killing Me, Big Spike Hammer, Sorry is a Highway. New Horizons is just a fucking blast all the time, they killlllled it! -> Someday's Reunion -> New Horizons. Wowza. Super fun Rag Mama and It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry. A brilliant Spanish Harlem Incident that Jeff said he knew we could handle. Best version I've heard them do. Then they just kicked it over the fucking line-- by far my favorite part of the night: Girlfriend Is Better -> King Ebenezer (YESSSSS!!!!) -> Boatman (YESSS YESSS!!!). Holy shit, Higher Ground was ROCKING.

Then, Encore 1: Come Together and a high energy Bloody Mary Morning & Encore 2 (YESSSSS): Idaho and some more heartfelt love for the room.

Wow. This may have been one of the best Yonder shows I've ever seen. Definitely in the Top 2. There was so much energy and love in the room, it drove the show with some crazy momentum. I was positively gobsmacked by how awesome that show was--- no joke, I had almost forgotten how fun it was to see live music in Burlington. Different crowds in different cities just bring different vibes to the show. Amazing what a 5 hour drive can do. Yonder and their Burlington crowd have a real love-affair going. Sign me up for next year's run!

The New Higher Ground was pretty awesome, but let's go back in time for a moment. When they first opened in Winooski, all bets were off. Meaning- we had a reasonable amount of freedom and a lot of fun in there (and outside in the parking lot). Those days are long gone. They don't even allow re-entry anymore. Security was really tight and that just seemed strange. It's a live music venue in BURLINGTON for fuck's sake. The Weirdness! I miss Club Toast.

There was an evil limited gold-on-black Yonder @ Higher Ground poster done by David Welker, the same artist who did the artwork for Phish's Rift cover. It is super-dark and very Metalocalypse. I love it!

Some tweaked out girl came over after I put mine into the plastic, took it out of my hands and started to caress and squeeze it-- I totally rescued it in the nick of time. WTF, Burlington? See??? THAT is what happens when people can't smoke anywhere-- fucking Tweakers start showing up!

waiting on Dave's tuning...

10/28/10, Higher Ground, South Burlington, VT

Set 1: Sideshow Blues, Cupid Shot Me Twice, Irondale, Long Time, If I Lose, Sharecropper's Son, Death Trip > 20 Eyes, Mossy Cow, Not Far Away, You're No Good, Dawn's Early Light > Winds Of Wyoming > 2 Hits and The Joint Turned Brown

Set 2: Only A Northern Song, Southbound, If Loving You Is Killing Me, Big Spike Hammer, Sorrow is a Highway, New Horizons > Someday's Reunion > New Horizons, Rag Mama, Takes Alot To Laugh A Train To Cry, Spanish Harlem Incident, Girlfriend Is Better > King Ebenezer > Boatman

Encore: Come Together, Bloody Mary Morning

E2: Idaho

DOWNLOAD THE SHOW! Thanks, Jamie Dubs:
DL the Wednesday show (also by Jamie Dubs) here:

FRIDAY, 10/29/10

My friend Matt had been sending emails to a few of us for the past couple of weeks floating the idea of heading to Boston for Yonder at the House of Blues. I tend to avoid driving in/near/around Boston whenever possible, but that Burlington Yonder show was just so fucking hot--- and if I was already in Burlington, I would eventually have to drive South to get home... So, it kind of made sense to swing through Boston, yes? Of course!

The plans all came together rather quickly and I bought a ticket after brushing my teefs in the AM. There was Pennycluse to rock some breakfast-for-lunch and Speeder's & Earl's to rock some coffee for coffee. I love Burlington, but I was on a quest for more Yonder Mountain String Band. HUZZAH!

It was a beautiful drive through New England and my mini-Yonder Fall Tour just felt right. Trees had long since peaked in VT, but the oranges and browns mingling with the Evergreens was a sweet sight.

What I learned on the drive: Massachusetts Drivers don't look or turn on their signals before changing lanes. This is not taught in Driver's Ed there. That page is ripped out of each and every textbook by a blood relative of the Kennedys who is wearing boat shoes (to keep it pure). Chappaquiddick.

After much traffic, I found my way to Matt & Jen's fantabulous awesome condo and I got to meet Nugget the dog! Ha! On our way to the House of Blues, Matt stumbled upon a talk radio show called "Music For Human Beings" where one boring guy with a weird accent was talking about bicycle paths representing the evolution of fish to men and his co-host kept agreeing, "it's truuuuuue... yessss." Also, that the only way Sasquatch will ever be seen is if one is crossing the same path at the same time and same dimension, as a human being who could identify him as "Sasquatch" or something along those lines that was just as difficult to follow. There is no other reason that this is important other than the fact that it was just really fucking funny and we were laughing so hard we practically cried.

And there before me, was a very quiet Fenway Park in October. All was right with the world.

We were still a few days from Halloween, but close enough for Slutty Cat, Slutty Nurse, Slutty Beer Wench, Slutty etc.'s to be oot and aboot. More power to you girls, but next year you may want to bring a jacket.

Matt! Watch out for that Slutty Cat!

This was my first trip to any House of Blues and I was looking forward to it. While it's pretty cool in there, it's still a chain-venue, and thusly I expected security to be about as tight as they were. They had the 2nd floor closed off and the only seats they were selling on the 3rd floor were the "box seats" (which explains why I could only purchase floor tickets that morning). I didn't venture upstairs, because we found a pretty phatty dank spot on the little elevated area off the floor on Adam-side. There was no need to wander once we settled in.

They opened with a glorious Out Of the Blue at which point I was immediately satisfied with having made the detour. Three Yonder shows in a week-- fuck yeah! Who knew? Really fun first set all the way through. Pow Wow the Indian Boy, Ain't No Way of Knowing, Fingerprint, awesome. Granny Woncha Smoke Some + venue with zero tolerance = healthy amounts of tequila. Thanks for driving, Jen. :) Also, thanks for enabling me, Matt. :) Fine Excuses, Damned If The Right One, Keep On Going -> Casualty -> Keep On Going. Just a sweet sounding set from start to finish. Lots of good vibes bouncing around in the room and the sound was stellar!

Yes, the second set rocked too, the details are a bit foggier but I remember dancing and having an awesome time. Also, more tequila. Always more tequila. Memories kick back in around Raleigh & Spencer, which had the room rocking. Rain Still Falls, This Train is Bound For Glory, and Going Up which absolutely took it through the roof. Sometimes I feel serious guilt pumping around in the jew blood about loving the gospel numbers so much, but sweet baby Jesus, they are sooooo good!!! Hot damn! Freeborn Man, Complicated (Ben might finally have me sold on it), and then a ridiculously dark & tasty Angel -> Follow Me Down (with Jeff, wonderfully possessed) -> Angel evil sammich to close out the set. WOW.

Encore featured Jeff trying to pick a dead bug out of his tequila -> New Speedway Boogie, and a wild & spirited Let Me Fall (YESSSS!!!) that reinforced all the great energy in the room before we all had to clear out. Smiles all around. Another great show! Thanks, Yonder in Boston!

Post show went something like this: tacos, pizza with chorizo on it, and Heavy Metal. Sounds like a wicked awesome Friday in New England!

10/29/10, House of Blues, Boston, MA

Set 1: Out Of The Blue, Pow Wow the Indian Boy, Ain't No Way of Knowing, Fingerprint, Mother's Only Son > Left Me in a Hole, Granny Woncha Smoke Some, Must've Had Your Reasons, Fine Excuses, Damned If The Right One Didn't Go Wrong, Keep on Going > Casualty > Keep on Going

Set 2: Illinois Rain > Dreams, Had To Leave My Boots Behind, Another Day, Isolate > Raleigh & Spencer, Rain Still Falls, This Train Is Bound For Glory, Going Up, Freeborn Man, Complicated, Angel > Follow Me Down To The Riverside > Angel

Encore: New Speedway Boogie, Let Me Fall

** Once the archive link goes up, it will be HERE. **

SATURDAY, 3/30/10

Saturday began with Nugget the dog staring at me and then some super fabulous coffee before heading over to an amazing bakery called Canto 6, near Matt & Jen's place. After dosing up on sugar and watching a little bit of the Rally to Restore Sanity/Fear, it was time to head home! I stopped at a rest stop on the Mass Pike to put my cozy moe. hoodie on and when I did, my door accidentally closed and the auto-lock went bonkers. Fuck. Now let me point you directly to: REASON # 1 I do not have a Yankees sticker anywhere on my car--- in case of a scenario *just like this*. At least I had my cozy moe. hoodie on while I waited for the Mass Pike Service Dude to show up? When he pulled up less than 20 minutes later (AWESOME), I got a "if I'd known you were from New York I would have taken my wicked time". See?

Yonder Mountain String Band New England mini-Tour, 10/28/10 @ Higher Ground, Burlington, VT & 10/29/10, House of Blues, Boston, MA: 9.8 HUZZAHS!!! What an amazing adventure!!! Can't wait to do it again!

Thanks to everyone who helped make this mini-Yonder Tour a success. The boys of Yonder, of course. But also, my sick brother Dave, Eric D., Sara (wish you could have come!!!), Matt, Jen, Nugget, and whoever baked that awesome fucking scone on Saturday morning. Chris & Heidi, you were missed, but definitely there in spirit.


^ I got my ID confiscated at the original Higher Ground in Winooski, attempting to see Trey's 8 Foot Florescent Tubes show like 2 months before I turned 21... Totes lame. Realizing that was 12 years ago was kind of a trip.

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