Infamous Stringdusters Blend Bluegrass Melodies in Two-Set Jam Throwdown

Concert Review



The current era of "jamgrass" bands — as dubiously as that term tends to roll off the tongue — is well under way and bearing fruit in a dynamic rock 'n' roll sense. These bands bring heat, and, though their roots are clear as crystal, there's something altogether different about them compared to more traditional outfits. 

The Infamous Stringdusters lean more toward the world of improvisation. When the composed sections of their songs wraps up, and, say, Andy Hall nudges his dobro into open-ended territory, the mood shifts entirely onstage. The band is here to jam, after all. And they do it exceedingly well.

Last night's two-setter at the Beachland Ballroom featured stellar interplay between the five musicians. Their style is pretty balanced — the frontman/vocalist tends to change for each song, and everyone will pick up at least one full-bodied solo every song or two.

One of the most notable things about the band was how all five members moved around one another during jams. There was nothing static about their stage presence. Listen, you're not gonna be head-banging in this scene, but you're doing it wrong if you're not moving in some way.

The easy highlight came during Andy Falco's guitar solo to close the first set. A spotlight shone down on him as he wove a borderline-classical trip up and down the neck. The other four guys stood literally in a row in the middle of the stage with looks of pure awe on their faces. 

Same goes for everybody in the crowd.

Check out the video below for a sense of their style.

Opener Blue Moon Soup — a four-piece from Yellow Springs, Ohio — laid the stage perfectly for the Dusters. They've played a handful of shows in Cleveland in the past year or so, and it would behoove anyone into bluegrass and pickin' to check them out.

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