The Infamous Stringdusters & The Last Revel 3.10.18
Words by Erica Garvey
Photos by Chris Davis
Often bluegrass is categorized as folksy acoustic music, safe for a quiet night with the family out on the farm. And then a group like the Infamous Stringdusters comes along and reminds you that modern bluegrass is anything but that outdated perception, and attending a live show may require earplugs, goggles and steel-toed shoes.
The Showbox had become pretty full of heel-stomping fans by the time The Last Revel left the stage. The Showbox, situated near Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market, is a mid-century-ish understated deco ballroom, with elevated bar areas in the back corners of the room, built for dancing. If you’re over 5’ 5”, there is not a bad view in the house.
Fresh off their Laws of Gravity GRAMMY Awards win for Best Bluegrass Album, the Infamous Stringdusters were flying high from the moment they stepped onstage. It was their last show of their tour. More than a few people positioned in the front row had been on the road for multiple Stringdusters shows, and the divide between the stage and the dance floor felt like just an administrative detail. We knew we were all going to get down together.
After a well-deserved set break, Stringdusters resumed the show with a few of their standards before quickly poking the (friendly) bear of a crowd with a lengthy tease of Phish’s “Bathtub Gin.” The band members moved around the stage and around each other more than most bands, and certainly more than any comparable bluegrass band. They were enjoying each other and they were enjoying the crowd. It was hard to tell who the actual “frontman” is, which is perfectly fine and quite admirable. Stringdusters were showing off the smooth, steady feel of their musicianship over a few more songs before they unleashed another rager in the form of a surprisingly danceable “Super Mario Brothers Theme,” which was immensely appreciated by attendees aged 30 to 45 (and was moderately confusing to everyone else).
The show closed with an appropriate end-of-tour blend of originals and classic covers. This night was a perfect ending to the Stringdusters’ GRAMMY victory lap. And next time I will be prepared with protective footwear.
Chris' Photo Gallery
Set One: Hobo Song, 17 Cents, Sirens, Water Wagon, Echoes of Goodbye, This Ol’ Building, Get It While You Can > Gravity (with Terrapin tease), Possum
Set Two: Run To Heaven, It’ll Be Alright > Home of the Red Fox (with Bathtub Gin tease), Soul Searching, Hobo Blues > Super Mario Brothers Theme > Tennessee Jed > Back Home > Black Elk, Head Over Heels (with Psycho Killer tease), Dancing In The Street, I Run To You
Encore: Harvest Moon, Rollin’ In My Sweet Baby’s Arms