Yonder Mountain String Band continued their West Coast tour tonight passing through Petaluma, CA. The show sold out the Mystic Theater, packing the little venue all the way down the aisles. This kind of intimate setting gets the fans going even more, ready to dance their asses off to some fast bluegrass. Many of these fans have been with Yonder for most, or all of the California run. All was set for a fantastic show.
Yonder came out strong with their Reggae inspired “Two Hits and the Joint Turned Brown”, getting the night off on a happy note. Keeping on, they went into “Ain’t No Way of Knowing”, a fun little bluegrass tune that got the crowd really moving. The instrumental “Polly Put the Kettle On” kept the show raging, bringing smiles to the faces of those around me. A couple songs later Yonder played the ever popular “Catch a Criminal”, a slower but incredibly catchy song. All of this in the first half of the first set. The second half of the set wasn’t as fast, but the pickin’ was strong. The “Good News Blues” was really fun, twisting the blues into positive. To finish the set, “Fastball”, a bluegrass jam into “Illinois Rain” kept the crowd moving and created a sauna in the Mystic. The end of the set was welcome if only for the fresh air I desperately needed.
The second set started off strong with a “Dawns Early Light” into a “Classic Situation”. If you weren’t fully rested, the beginning of this set wasn’t going to help you much. While neither of these songs is superfast, you just can’t help dancing. Yonder couldn’t stay away from the blues, kicking out the “Blue Collar Blues”, into a softer “Belle Parker”. They then transported you back to the twenties with “Rag Mama”, making you feel that the Mystic was some sort of Speakeasy. The middle of the set had its ups and downs, but the pluses were “Reuben and Cherise” and “Whipping Post”. The interesting part of the show came in the middle of the closing medley of “Angel>Follow Me Down>Robot>Angel”. The crowd starts moving to the dark “Angel”, into an even darker “Follow Me Down”. Jeff Austin has an almost ranting voice going into Robot, a red floodlight enveloping his face, showing something I had never seen Yonder do before. It was awesome. Welcome to the dark side Jeff, hope to see you back here sometime. The encore went straight back to their bluegrass roots, with a killer “Let Me Fall”. A fun show, but as always they left me wanting more. Thankfully I will be at the Fillmore tomorrow, so I won’t need to wait that long.