The Infamous Stringdusters rocked the house at The Tabernacle in Midtown Atlanta on Friday night with an outstanding performance of new age bluegrass, or shall we say “newgrass.” The quintet, with their stringed instruments, spanned the width of the stage enveloping the crowd in foot stomping beats bellowing out of Travis Brook’s upright bass, galloping rhythms strummed from Andy Falco’s guitar, and downright twang spilling from of Chris Pandolfi’s banjo and Andy Hall’s dobro.
If that’s not enough to get you excited about this impressive jamgrass band, lets add in Jeremy Garrett’s fiddling lead. These five men are not only a showcase of talent, but the set-list itself was a work of art. The group opened with the cheerful tune “It’ll Be Alright” followed by a more bluesy “17 Cents” while proceeding to take the crowd through a journey of playful rhythms and perfectly timed transitions from song to song, melded together by lively, organic jams.
Throughout the evening, the crowd was moved by the band’s seamless transitions by effortlessly inducing a full on dance and shout number as the band covered “Possum” by Phish to hushing the crowd with a muted jam as the people on the floor and in the balcony swayed along. The power behind the quintet to move a crowd through emotions of celebration and love matched with hard times and struggle truly allowed them to put the blues into bluegrass.
With lyrical blues also came transitional quiet jams lasting just long enough to let the crowd catch their breath, sway along and prepare to continue dancing their hearts out. Andy Falco said it eloquently on the bands website “I just hope that our music gives people a chance to feel free; free from the burdens of everyday life that we all have, free to just be themselves and be happy.”
The group simultaneously provides an atmosphere of both freedom and unity with their all too relatable lyrics in original songs such as “A Hard Life Makes A Good Song” and “Gravity,” both of which were played and received whole-heartedly, followed by a rowdy cover of David Bowie’s “Dancing in the Street”.
It is no secret the Infamous Stringdusters are on the road to great success, taking home a Grammy in 2017 for their album Laws of Gravity and being named Best Bluegrass Album of the Year. The group has been well received through their transitions and experimentation throughout their albums, which goes to show just how talented each member is. In short, The Infamous Stringdusters are a downright pleasure for all of your bluegrass/newgrass desires and true to the roots of the genre, will leave you celebrating life’s many adventures with those who dance around you.
Photos by Sarah Htun for Bullet Music