Yonder Mountain String Band, Eureka Theater, Eureka, CA – 4/14
Yonder Mountain String Band is no stranger to Humboldt County and has built a huge fan base in the area throughout the years. It was surprising when the Yonder took the stage on Thursday night at the Eureka Theater that there was not a large crowd as years past though this would change as the night progressed. Jeff Austin walked the stage pointing to people in the crowd, welcoming them to the show.
Wasting no time, the band started off with Ben Kaufmann singing “Rambler’s Anthem.” Austin declared that tonight they’d play some bluegrass music and this would turn out to be an understatement as Yonder was embarking on a journey of high octane bluegrass. “Blue Collar Blues” has the chorus, “I love my job” and this is apparent as the Yonder boys are always up on stage smiling and interacting with the crowd and each other. The quartet doesn’t exactly play what some would call traditional bluegrass but the skilled picking and that “traditional” sound came out during the cover of instrumental “Pow-Wow The Indian Boy,” which led into a new tune that Jeff Austin took lead on, “One More.” By this time the theater was packed and the energy level grew even higher. When Austin mentioned something about treating this as an intimate show, he asked for requests. With so many different songs being yelled out by crowd, the group decided on a crowd favorite, “How About You.” Austin teased the crowd with “Brothers And Sisters” and finished the first set with a tribute to his home state with “Illinois Rain.”
Before the second set began, Ben Kaufmann was handed a note by a fan and then Ben announced to the crowd he had been informed the it was this fan’s 100th show which led to cheers from the crowd and then Yonder charging right into “Free To Run,” which segued into “Little Rabbit.” From the first two songs played you could feel that the second set was going to have the band jamming a bit more than they did in the first. When it comes to covers, Yonder has a wide variety to choose from and they did not disappoint the crowd when they went into the Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie.” Slowing down towards the end of the song, the band went right into the Bad Liver’s “Death Trip” which set the crowd off into a dancing frenzy.
Jeff Austin then mentioned the last couple of weeks had been interesting, that the crowd’s energy was healing and they were going to close it off with a “chunk of music.” That chunk began with a Yonder classic “Years With Rose” and then led into the fast paced “On The Run.” This segued into “Farmer’s Daughter” and then back into “On The Run” to end the second set. Coming back out for the encore the band finished things off with a lot of energy during “40 Miles From Denver” and “Hill Country Girl.” Yonder showed once again how that they taken many genres of music and made their own sound while still yet paying tribute to the original artists who made it all possible.