Rusted Root, Gramercy Theatre, New York, NY- 1/11
Saturday January 11 was a cold and rainy day for New York City, the kind of day that most people stay in front of their fireplaces, read a book, or watch an old movie but for fans of Rusted Root even the worst of storms could not stand in their way. These supporters were rewarded for their effort by the group, whose members currently include songwriter/singer, guitarist Michael Glabicki, bassist and vocalist Patrick Norman, vocalist and percussionist Liz Berlin, guitarist Dirk Miller, and drummer Preach Freedom.
Following an energetic set from Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Rusted Root took the stage and started off the show with “The Movement,” to a crowded room of eager and enthusiastic fans. Cool vocal harmonies and layered instrumental progression gave the song a new wave feel to it that started off the night with a blissful vibe. It ended with outrageous rhythmic textures through the guitars, drums, and percussion.
This mellow tune flowed smoothly into “Martyr,” a song off their 1992 album Cruel Sun. “Lost In A Crowd” provided another musical genre change, incorporating a psychedelic twist over very southern sounding vocals. The tune also featured African style drumming, shifting the full experience of the music yet again, and taking the fans on an unexpected, but thrilling ride. Dirk Miller electrified the crowd even more with a dexterous solo half way through the song.
Glabicki set “Back To The Earth” into motion next with an acoustic introduction and then moved on to “Cover Me,” Food & Creative Love,” Monkey Pants,” Fortunate Freaks,” and “Laugh.” In “Laugh,” Glabicki used various guitar layers of ferocious chord work. The quintet then smoothly moved into “Artificial Winter” and impressed the fans with a version of the song that featured an extensive percussion section. “Dangle,” and “Voodoo” followed and “Rain” ended the set giving off an American bluegrass kind of heartfelt vibe that culminated in a flute throwdown.
The band returned to the stage for an encore and first performed a rendition of the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women,” showing the extreme diversity in their playing before the band played their most popular song next, the beloved “Send Me On My Way.” Glabicki even signaled fans to sing the part “I would like to reach out my hand.” Rusted Root then closed things out with the similarly-treasured “Ecstasy,” which resulted in a beautiful and inspiring moment of connection between the crowd and band that was a true culmination of the evening.