Atlanta was shakin’-n-groovin’ this Saturday night as Yonder Mountain String Band took to famed venue The Tabernacle co-billing with G. Love & Special Sauce to cheer up the city from their devastating Super-Bowl loss the prior week. In short, mission accomplished. The pairing kept the audience in high spirits and hip-shaking throughout the night, proving to be just what the doctor ordered.
Up first with their bluesy vibes was G. Love & Special Sauce. Taking the stage at 8 sharp, the Philly trio led by front-man Garrett Dutton (A.K.A. G. Love) ignites a fire within the crowd with a bevy of twangy tunes to set the tone. Dutton, decked in all black, channels his inner Bob Dylan by performing on the harmonica and guitar, while still managing his lead vocals duties with flair. Accompanying G. Love were the very capable Jimi Jazz playing a mean string bass as well as longtime drummer extraordinaire Jeffrey Clemens (A.K.A. Houseman). The trio play for keeps while taking the crowd on a journey through their extensive discography for a jazzy hip-hop filled 90 minutes.
With the crowd still recovering from the excitement, Yonder Mountain String Band make a grand entrance at 10PM amongst cheers and wolf-whistles from their avid fans. The quintet seemed genuinely pleased to perform on this night as stated by Dave Johnston, who quips “It’s fucking great to be back at The Tabernacle”, drawing a well-earned positive response from attendees. After a quick musical intro, the band does good by the fans with a truly unique set; one of the band’s trademarks is that they don’t repeat set-lists. The crowd shows tremendous enthusiasm throughout the performance, but perhaps the loudest cheers are heard when lone female member Allie Kral throws down a kick-ass rendition of Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man” with G. Love assisting Yonder on harmonica. Another part of their signature versatility is that the Colorado progressive blue-grass quintet take turns carrying-out lead instruments and vocals on their diverse track-set, defying the traditional band formula of having one front-man or woman.
To summarize, G. Love and Yonder co-bill an eclectic musical parade that involves a touch of jazz, a dash of hip-hop, a splash of blue-grass, superior string work, dope drumming and, of course, superlative crooning. Quite the recipe for a fun-filled evening.