Yonder Mountain String Band kept strong to their reputation and once again pulled off an amazing concert at Turner Hall Ballroom Oct. 23. The opening band Founding Fathers was mainly instrumental with vocals added only sparingly. The band piqued the interest of many potential new fans. Nothing however, could compare to the roar that was heard when Yonder Mountain took to the stage.
Yonder Mountain is comprised of four members: Jeff Austin, singer and mandolinist; Ben Kaufmann, bassist, singer and songwriter; Adam Aijala, guitarist and singer; and Dave Johnston, banjoist and singer. Following the traditional routes of bluegrass music, Yonder only plays acoustic instruments and stays true to its roots with heavily folk influenced songs. Most songs are based around the idea of a narrative. Many songs talk about a lost love, unwanted change or personal struggle, but most relate-ably, about personal hardships of the everyday citizen. All of these themes make it easy for the audience to connect.
Opening up with a light fun song with a great beat, the dancing started almost immediately, to no one’s surprise. All around, people started swinging and hopping to the music–no Yonder concert would be complete without the floor bouncing to the rhythm. The band continued to play well into the night, taking a break around 11 before returning for an even more exciting second set.
While the night started off unbalanced with fast upbeat as well as calmer sounds, the second set was an experience all its own. The music became more low and rhythmic, akin to a primal beat in your body willing you to dance, which most did. Whether up on the second floor with a bit more room to spare or down amongst the masses, people moved every way from leaping to full out swing dancing.
Those who could be seen were of no surprise and flannel shirts and cowboy boots were readily spotted. But for those who are avid bluegrass fans, they know it is the music’s roots much more than the look that defines it. Bluegrass is more about an organic flow and feel to the music, something that Yonder has mastered. Not a single note felt out of place or forced. This was further enforced by the wonderful acoustics that come natural in Turner Hall’s setting as well as the balance of all the instruments and vocals. There was no struggle to make out anything going on–a rare occurrence for live performances.
Turner Hall was the perfect venue for this concert. Old, rustic and charming, Yonder Mountain String Band fit right in.