When I first heard of The Contribution and who was in the band, I nearly wet myself with excitement. How could such a band made up of members of The String Cheese Incident, Railroad Earth and New Monsoon be anything except absolutely stellar? Featuring Tim Carbone, one of the best fiddle players I have ever seen, Jeff Miller and Phil Ferlino on guitar and keys, and Jason Hann and Keith Moseley making up the rhythm section on drums and bass, this was sure to be a super group in the making. Since they first announced the band, I have personally been hungrily eating up any new information that has been posted on the band’s Facebook page. Each new video that was posted must have been watched by yours truly at least a dozen times. I knew when The Contribution announced a very limited two night album release tour that I would have to see them play live. Lucky for me, one of the two nights was slated for San Francisco, my very own city.
I arrived at the fabulous Great American Music Hall early to try and secure a good viewing angle. Within short order, Kate Gaffney & The One Night Band came out on the stage. The One Night Band was comprised of Joe Kyle Jr on bass, James Nash on guitar, Ben Jacobs on keyboard, and James Neil on the drum kit and they really helped to set the mood for the night. A special guest came out on stage for a couple songs in the form of Peter Grant, tearing it up on the pedal steel guitar. As their pleasing melodies came echoing off the stage, more and more people where drawn into the venue. As Kate Gaffney’s band exited the stage I decided to get a quick drink. By the time I turned around from the bar, the hall had filled in and was packed with people.
Without having to wait very long, loud cheering began as The Contribution took to the stage. Andrew McConathy came out on stage and introduced the band. Opening with the first song from the new album, Come Around, and leading into Time Was Only Yesterday, my enthusiasm and appreciation of these fabulous musicians grew even more. It is one thing to hear the music on your Ipod, and something entirely different hearing it performed for you live. All the subtle layers of each instrument can be seen heard and seen in the flesh. With my ears already buzzing, they launched into Don’t Do It by The Band, which raised the temperature in the building as everyone sang along. As the cheering died down, The Contribution started to perform Steady Ride, a great dancing number. Next came Samsara, a beautiful song with an eerie intro with Phil on keys and Tim on the fiddle. Bringing Peter Grant out on the lap steel, and Sheryl Renee to sing with her beautiful voice, the band began to cover Only You Know and I Know by Bonnie and Delaney. This fast little song got the crowds feet and arms moving once again. Next from the new album they started into Fear of Nothing, a true rock song. This perfectly lead into Santana’s Let The Children Play with James Nash, Sheryl Renee, Kate Gaffney singing back up while Peter Grant joined in on his pedal steel. With the crowd screaming for more, The Contribution did not disappoint. The opening notes of Zeppelin’s The Song Remains the Same only made the screaming grow with intensity. I have never heard this song with a fiddle before, and Tim Carbone more than did it justice. The lyrics where preformed by Sheryl Renee and I swear I saw Jason Hann turn into John Bonham before my eyes.
As the band once again came out onstage after a short break, they brought out Alisa Rose on a second fiddle, Jams Nash on guitar, and Bill Evans on banjo to perform Midnight on the Water. This lighting quick number featured dueling fiddles, which is always a favorite of mine and left me breathless from dancing so hard. Luckily the next song, Which Way World, gave everyone a chance to let their heart rate come back into an acceptable range. The next cover was Gimmie Shelter by the Rolling Stones and, as with the other covers performed this night, was a beautiful rendition. Jeff Miller then stepped up to the microphone and sang Not This Time, followed by Keith Moseley finally getting his chance to sing the Jesse Stone cover Don’t Let Go which brought smiles to all those in attendance as they sang along with the chorus. The last two songs off the album Better Days and Year of Jubilee closed out the second set with a Marvin Gaye cover, Let’s Get It On, snuck in the middle and sung by Sheryl. With the crowd cheering and overjoyed by the incredible show they had witnessed, The Contribution came out and preformed a awesome rendition of Live and Let Die as an encore. The band was nice enough to come out and meet with fans and sign copies of the poster from the nights show as well as copies of the new album that had been selling like hot cakes though out the night. I had such a great time during this performance I will do anything to see them play again live. Luckily The Contribution will be performing again at this years Yarmony Grass music festival. More details can be seen here, http://www.yarmonygrass.com. I will be there for sure and really suggest you do the same as this super group is not one to be missed.
1. Come Around 2. Time Was Only Yesterday 3. Don't Do it (The Band) 4. Steady Ride 5. Samsara 6. Only You Know and I Know (Bonnie and Delaney) 7. Fear of Nothing 8. Let the Children Play (Santana) 9. The Song Remains the Same (Led Zeppelin)
1. Midnight on the Water->Hoedown (Traditional) 2. Which Way World 3. Wind Me Up 4. Gimme Shelter (The Rolling Stones) 5. Not This Time 6. Don't Let Go (Jesse Stone) 7. Better Days 8. Let's Get It On (Marvin Gaye) 9. Year of Jubilee