The Infamous Stringdusters & The Drunken Hearts 12.5.14

Aggie Theatre
Fort Collins, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)

The Infamous Stringdusters were set to co-headline the Hoppy Holidays show with Kyle Hollingsworth Band at the Fillmore in Denver. They took the opportunity to host a concert of their own the night beforehand at the Aggie Theater. The Stringdusters had been on a break since their performance on Halloween in NYC. The show at the Aggie was a reunion of sorts for the band. The Dusters invited local jamgrass heroes, The Drunken Hearts, to open up the night. They took the stage early around 8 PM. Unfortunately, I didn’t arrive until they were performing their set closing song with Andy Hall. The lack of a substantial crowd at The Aggie let me know I wasn’t the only one who thought the show started at 9 PM. The fact remains that The Drunken Hearts have truly progressed into a full-blown musical spectacle capable of powerful performances. The Hearts are firmly establishing themselves in the upper echelon of Colorado bluegrass. Zebulon Bowles remains a fascinating focal point for this band. The Drunken Heart are an impressive group with limitless potential. Check them out if you haven’t seen them live.

The Infamous Stringdusters are dominating the bluegrass scene. They have been on a relentless tour schedule that has brought them through Colorado several times in the last year. They even performed with Governor Hickenlooper at the Viva Lyons celebration. At the Aggie they played two superb sets of music. They opened with a perfect bluegrass rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice It's Alright.”

Set One: Don’t Think Twice It's Alright, Time To Part> 17 Cents, Rivers Run Cold, Night On The River, Well, Well, Middlefork, Thirsty In The Rain, Paddy On The Turnpike, Tragic Life

Set Two: Hobo Song, High Country Funk Tease> In Gods Country, The Place That I Call Home, You Can’t Stop The Changes> Home Of The Red Fox, Scarlet Begonias> This Weary Heart You Stole Away, Like I Do, How Far I’d Fall for You, No More To Leave You Behind, Love Grown Cold, One More Bridge, Gentle On My Mind, Machines

Encore: Bar Tender, Uncle Pen

By the time The Stringdusters took the stage the room had filled in nicely and there was still quite a long line of people waiting to get inside the venue. The first set was bit shorter than the second, but it was full of fan favorites. They gave us a pair of aquatic tunes with “Rivers Run Cold” into a beautiful “Night On The River.” They performed a driving version of Peter Rowan’s “Thirsty In The Rain.” They closed the first set with “Tragic Life.” Every member of this band is a musical virtuoso. Each and every time The Infamous Stringdusters take the stage they play from the heart with a special brand of vibrancy and skill that is truly extraordinary.

They began their second set with their homage to vagrancy, “Hobo Song,” before teasing “High Country Funk.” They treated fans to a wide array of originals as well as a couple of covers. Pulling from a bit deeper in their catalog they performed “You Can’t Stop The Changes” into the instrumental “Home of The Red Fox.” Jeremy Garrett was center stage much of the show including a huge solo on “Red Fox.” Not to mention the way these guys interact while pickling together. It’s obvious that each member of the band is happy to be there as they swing their instruments around the stage. They delighted fans with a rendition of The Grateful Dead’s “Scarlet Begonias” before Andy Falco took the microphone on the lively “Like I Do.” The Stringdusters went back to their debut album Fork In The Road with “No More To Leave You Behind.” After a picturesque Travis-sung “Gentle On My Mind,” they closed with “Machines.” The Dusters hastily returned for a two-song encore that included Bill Monroe’s classic “Uncle Pen.” I can’t really say it enough; The Infamous Stringdusters are in contention for being the best bluegrass band touring today. They play from the heart with intensity. They are incredibly talented and yet gracious at the same time. They have quickly landed on my not-to-be-missed list. Their show at The Aggie would act as the perfect warm-up for Hoppy Holidays the following evening.

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