The Infamous Stringdusters 5.7.16

The Fox Theatre
Boulder, CO

Words & Photos By Kevin Hahn (Split Open & Shoot)

"The boys are back in town, the boys are back in town…" a phrase usually associated with the summer classic of baseball, the returning of old friends, and the band “Thin Lizzy” can be applied directly to the Infamous Stringduster’s playing the Fox Theater in Boulder this past Saturday night. Being part of a 2-day, first time headlining, Red Rocks extravaganza was just not enough for the Duster boys as they decided to grace us with their ever-evolving jamgrass sound in the intimate, but truly awesome setting which is the Fox Theatre. Coming off a massive performance the night before with JJ Grey & Mofro, the Infamous Stringduster’s were ready to “let loose” and give their adopted hometown crowd a show to truly remember them by.

With no opening band this time around for the Dusters, the music started promptly around 9pm and would last until mere moments before the 1am bell struck. Starting off with the classic Old & In the Way tune “Hobo Song” excited the crowd from the first note struck, and a couple of Duster classics “All That I Can Take” and “Rivers Run Cold” got the audience into the foot-stomping mode, while fiddle extraordinaire Jeremy Garrett was able to warm up his fingers with some quick riffs that sounded like they could have come from an electric guitar/mandolin.

In recent performances, the Dusters have become more willing to lay down some amazing covers of well-known songs, and Saturday’s performance at the Fox was no different. Tom Petty’s “American Girl,” The Killers' “When We We’re Young,” and the Grateful Dead classics “Jack-A-Roe,” “Scarlett Begonias,” and “He’s Gone” were all played with explicit precision and sounded like they could all be a part of the “Pickin’ On Series” we have all become accustomed to. Dobro genius, Andy Hall, handled lead vocals on most of these covers, with his twangy country style coming through beautifully to emulate Tom Petty’s gritty song-writing about a long lost love interest of his. The true cover highlight was the rousing, approximately 15-minute “Scarlett Begonias” which provided each Duster the chance to shine with solos being passed back and forth, and massive smiles jumping from one band member to the next.

Other Duster staples “Well, Well,” “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright,” and a blistering “High-Country Funk” made their way onto the Fox stage Saturday night with vocals being handled by all members of the band. To point out a couple of highlights, upright bass aficionado, Travis Book, and his booming vocals sang “Night on the River” and “Keep on Truckin’” while a massive group of Jamily members wearing “Let Panda Sing” t-shirts convinced the band to allow banjo player, Chris Pandolfi, to lead the group through “Ring on Finger,” which was received with raucous excitement. I will say, I have not met a group of more dedicated/rabid music fans than those of the Duster’s “Jamily.” Ranging in all ages, genders, and geographical locations, these Duster fanatics bring with them a level of energy and pure musical love that is unmatched in our current music scene.

In the end, this was another precise/well-handled performance by the Infamous Stringduster’s and with Panda and Andy Hall now living in Colorado, it might be only a matter of time until their other three musical compatriots make the long drive out west. And if they do…we will be waiting with open arms to truly accept them into our musical Jamily/hearts. Just as the song “The Road to Boulder” implies, it is hard to stay away from Colorado for that long.

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