Concert Recap: Greensky Bluegrass @ Chickie Wah Wah 3/20/12
The hard-touring Kalamazoo Greensky Bluegrass quintet made their long overdue initial appearance in the New Orleans on Tuesday night at Chickie Wah Wah, kicking off a busy two-week run through the south. Early in the show, GSBG described The Big Easy as “the world’s coolest city nickname” and commented that “there’s so much good music to be seen here in New Orleans it’s scary” – endearingly making our ears burn right out of the gate. The band seemed legitimately surprised for not only such a great midweek turnout in a new market, but, such a energetic and enthusiastic crowd. Moreover, there was an odd, strangely familiar quasi-exclusive party vibe in the room and whether people knew each other or not, it seemed like 75% of the room were old friends, and the band had been pickin’ at this weekly gig for years.
It takes a great deal of headfirst, go-for-broke energy to tour the country the way Greensky Bluegrass have for the last half-decade, and this blue-collared roots band looks to still be having themselves a great deal of fun doing what they do, immediately going out to chat it up with fans during set break and taking the room along for the ride on a number of sprawling, yet constantly entertaining jams that never devolved into repetitive and boastful wankery. None-too-familiar with the originals (but will be soon), the tunes reflected a modern lyrical awareness, a sense and desire to break from falling into traditional subject matter ruts of their legendary bluegrass forefathers, instead hoping to carve out a space in the bluegrass universe all their own. The vocal and instrumental harmonies showed careful attention to subtlety, avoiding the freight train style breakdowns which, although fun to watch, can often become as all-too-frequent and cyclical as a ‘drop’ at a DJ-laden festival at your run-of-the-mill bluegrass show. Run of the mill GSBG is not, in fact, one day, these guys may ride to the helm and reach the Telluride pantheon. Regardless of where the road takes them, it’s just good to see a hard-working band enjoying their craft this much.
Take a look at last night’s cover of Bruce Springsteen’s classic “Atlantic City” and continue on below for a smattering of photos from last night.
Greensky Bluegrass – Atlantic City
Wesley grew up in coastal Georgia and is a former resident of The Music City and the Big Easy where he helped get Live Music Blog: NOLA off-the-ground, managing it in New Orleans through Jazz Fest 2012. Hodges now lives amongst THE CALIFORNIANS as a newcomer to West LA. His favorite artists include My Morning Jacket, Sigur Rós, Widespread Panic, The Allman Brothers Band, Dr. Dog, Tame Impala, Anders Osborne, Radiohead and Bobby & The Midnites. Daft Punk is actually playing at his house tonight and you're invited.
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