Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Review: Yonder Mountain String Band at Crossroads
Banjos and mandolins sound sublime when they ricochet off buildings in midtown Kansas City.
Other obligations forced me to arrive late and leave early to last night's Yonder Mountain String Band concert at Crossroads. My inconvenient schedule allowed me to experience an unexpectedly effective psychedelic sound mix outside the gates of the outdoor venue. Crossroads has a reliably solid sound system, but the echo-laden remix enjoyed by hundreds of fans who chose to enjoy the show from nearby parking lots was in many ways superior.
The other not-so-surprising revelation was that I could smell the crowd of 2,000 from a block away. (That explains the accompanying image.)
Once inside Crossroads I joined one of the happiest, hoopiest crowds I've encountered in a long time. And why not? Music like this goes down easy on a warm summer evening.
One of the night's biggest cheers came in response to a Split Lip Rayfield reference. But where Kansas' alternative bluegrass act works with a punk and metal sensibility, Yonder Mountain evokes Jerry Garcia.
Grateful Dead t-shirts abounded for good reason. With their long pauses between songs and sincere roots-based jams, the Colorado band resembles the Dead in both spirit and approach.
The cumulative effect was so delightful that I seriously considered growing dreadlocks and joining the tribe. Only later did I realize that it was just the secondhand smoke talking.
It's the talk of the town. In a music trivia match Monday at the Record Bar, my teammates and I failed to identify a Charlie Parker track. How humiliating! My excuse? Emcee Robert Moore seemingly used a remastered mix that sounded too contemporary to be a Parker recording. Still, I'm deeply shamed.
Kansas City Click: Do you have the time to listen to Green Day whine Wednesday at Sprint Center?
Blind Pilot recently opened for the Decemberists at the Uptown. They're headliners at the Record Bar on Thursday.
(Original image taken at There Stands the Glass' family homestead near Hutchinson last weekend. I'm told that the plant "grows naturally" in the area.)