Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Saturday, 09 March 2013 17:58

Concert review: Yonder Mountain String Band (with the Deadly Gentlemen) jam the grass at the Pageant, Friday, March 8

Jeff Austin of Yonder Mountain String Band at the Pageant Jeff Austin of Yonder Mountain String Band at the Pageant Joe O'Toole
Written by Jason Warren
Rate this item
(0 votes)

A haze descended over the audience as the lights rose over Yonder Mountain String Band on Friday evening at the Pageant. The night was filled with a groove that could be placed somewhere between the Grateful Dead and the classic bluegrass of Flatt and Scruggs, with country melodies and a musical muscle evident in jam-band circles. Dancers, drinks and bona-fide hippies took delight in all the sights and sounds.

The night started out the Boston's Deadly Gentlemen, a band with musical chops that stand up with to its contemporaries. The Deadly Gentlemen features Greg Liszt on banjo, Stash Wyslouch on guitar, Mike Barnett on fiddle, Dominick Leslie on mandolin and Sam Grisman on double bass -- each took a turn stepping up to the mic. At first the strength of the Deadly Gentlemen might seem to be its musicianship, but their use of vocal orchestration is key. This unconventional use of vocal harmonies involves an acrobatic bouncing of voices that blend to add emphasis on phrases, melodies and lyrical content.

The band played a mixture of originals and covers: "Let It Bleed" by the Rolling Stones and "Touch of Grey" by the Grateful Dead. The strength of the band's songwriting is study in diversity; from the country-esque "Moonshiner," the almost punk-influenced "Police" (which seemed to evoke Black Flag's "Police Story") and the bluegrass burner of "Old Barns." The latter skewed the Irish and Scottish influences of bluegrass for Middle Eastern phrasing that popped up every so often in the melody lines played by Mike Barnett and Dominick Leslie.

With a quick gander at the stage one would automatically assume that Yonder Mountain String Band plays typical bluegrass; after all, mandolin, banjo, guitar and bass are the band's instruments. When the band kicked into its first song it was evident that this was more than just a bluegrass show. Yonder Mountain String Band has a sound that creates a jam-band groove with traditional string-band instrumentation that bands like the Grateful Dead, Phish and the String Cheese Incident have dabbled in; but those bands have not taken full advantage of the sounds' power. This quartet from Nederland, Col. -- made up of Jeff Austin on mandolin, Ben Kaufman on bass, Adam Aijala on guitar and Dave Johnston on banjo (each member taking turns fronting the band vocally) -- brought an energy to the stage that is as reminiscent of Led Zeppelin as it is Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder.

The Yonder Mountain String Band blasted through two sets at the Pageant and brought the crowd to a frenzy its improvisational muscle. The night was highlighted with songs that ranged from humorous romps to the pull of lonesome heart strings. The diversity in the performance is evident in the songs. The band barreled through songs like "Half Moon Rising" and "How 'Bout You?" which showcased a focused pop sensibility.

These songs were offset with traditional bluegrass instrumentals along with the fun Germanic romp of "Polka on a Banjo" and the seafaring bluegrass shanty of "Boatman's Dance." Despite the diversity of the songs stylistically each song blended perfectly to create a set that was consistent and fluid. As Yonder Mountain String Band played the atmosphere inside the Pageant was more akin to that of a house party with a friend's band jamming in the background rather than that of a large-scale rock show complete with lights and a high performance P.A.

At the end of the night it was about the songs and the musicianship that both the Deadly Gentlemen and Yonder Mountain String Band brought to the stage. These elements created an atmosphere that primed the audience members to take themselves away from the day-to-day obstacles of life and to just have a good time with drink, dance and great music.

While the Yonder Mountain String band is rooted in traditions of acoustic music, it is the spirit of the San Francisco dance bands (the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company and Jefferson Airplane) that gives new life to its roots.

Upcoming Concerts

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Karate Bikini - A Simpler Sugar

Wed November 26
Karate Bikini is an eight piece ensemble who's members hail from St. Louis and the metro area. They are a large band with a large sound. Their latest album A Simpler Sugar is full of upbeat pop songs,…

88.1 KDHX Shows

m-crowd.jpg

KDHX Recommends

January
Saturday
17

Recording Clinic with Patrick Crecelius

KDHX is proud to host a DIY mixing workshop for musicians at The Stage at KDHX. The clinic will be taught by Patrick Crecelius of Cedar Box Studio. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, his credits include such local artists as Ryan...


January
Sunday
18

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round Welcomes The Boogers

The Boogers are the brainchild of Dr. Paul Crowe. Fatherhood, a PhD in Developmental Psychology, and 20 years of sloggin' it in wretched clubs as a punk rocker - even opening for Dee Dee Ramone and Marky Ramone - formed Paul's...


February
Sunday
01

Discovery Series

The Discovery Series, a 10-event series spanning February to June, 2015, will not only bring you new music, but also music-focused interactive sessions that take a look at how music plays a role in our society. Each month the...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

10 users and 11803 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook