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 411mania » Music » Columns

Jam Central Station 9.21.13: Greensky Bluegrass - 9.18.13 - The Beachland Ballroom - Cleveland, OH
Posted by Jeff Modzelewski on 09.21.2013

Hey all! Thanks for stopping by today. I usually don't cover shows that I saw just a couple days ago. I like to give myself a few days to process and write. But I had to put this one in because I'm seeing a show tomorrow to cover for next week, and if I start seeing too many shows they get all mixed up for me. Anyways, here's my review of the Greensky Bluegrass!

Greensky Bluegrass came to Cleveland on Wednesday for a 2 set, 3+ hour show with Fruition. Greensky has consistently been on the rise as one of the best modern bluegrass bands around. They've proven their ability to put expand the horizons of bluegrass music through extended jamming, changing song structures, and putting a bluegrass twist on a variety of cover songs. Their show at the Beachland Ballroom was just another example of what makes these guys such a strong band with an appeal that extends far beyond just bluegrass fans.

Fruition started the show with a solid hour-plus set of high-energy rock/bluegrass fusion. While they have a very solid mix of styles on their albums, their live show was an absolutely rocking party that had the crowd moving. They jammed, they sang, and they had an absolute great time on stage. The band is very talented and there are many reasons to expect very good things from these guys. Greensky is very smart to have these guys out on the road with them, as they get the crowd going and have a bit of a different dynamic than the headliners. Despite just getting off the road after a 3-day drive straight from Portland to this show, they didn't show any signs of rust or road-weariness, and they were a great way to start the night.

After a solid opening set, Greensky came out and stole the show for the night. Their opening set was highlighted by their ability to offer extended jams within their songs. Everyone had an opportunity in the first set to stand out. Anders Beck was able to continuously take the lead on the dobro and do something different within each song. From his ability to put in laid-back solos to his ability to add layers to more "trippy" jams. He's a big reason why the band is able to walk that line between bluegrass and jam music.

Of course, that's not to discredit anyone else in the band. Everyone had something to add at various points. Paul Hoffman laid out the best vocals of the evening, but he was strongly supported by the rest of the band through some great harmonies. I was thoroughly impressed with bassist Mike Devol. In a bluegrass setup, the bass is the primary rhythm instrument, and the whole show certainly highlighted Devol's ability to hold down the rhythm during the extended improvisations. Throughout the first set I found myself moving and dancing to the jams, usually following Devol's rhythm on the bass, particularly on jams during a pair of covers when the band did "Get No Better" and "Can't Stop Now."

While the first set was mainly highlighted for me by the extended jams and dancing, the second set took much more of a laid back feel to it. A little more sticking to the song structure and less veering off into unknown space. There were still plenty of places for the crowd to dance, and the audience near the stage certainly took advantage of that. The crowd was extremely diverse, so it was nice to see the band play to different segments of their audience. The best part of it was the fact that everyone seemed to get into what the band was doing.

The second set highlight for me included "Blood Sucking F(r)iends," one of my favorite songs off of the band's most recent album. However, like the first, the second set was a great indication of what this band is capable of and why they've become so popular over the past few years. The band really is the whole package of songwriting, musicianship, vocals and vocal harmony, and improvisational skills. They also have the ability to incorporate all of those features of the band throughout their set in a unique way.

Overall, I had a great time at this show. Fruition was an excellent opener, and a band that I'm planning on checking out again. This was my first time seeing Greensky Bluegrass in a non-festival show, and they proved that they're absolutely able to carry a two-set show. This was one that fans of many different musical styles could enjoy. There really was something for everyone. Greensky Bluegrass is absolutely going to continue to improve and bring in more fans if they keep putting on shows like this one.

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Wanee announces dates
The 2014 Wanee Festival will take place from April 10-12, 2014 at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oaks, FL. No word on a lineup at this point, but I'd expect The Allman Brothers and Widespread Panic to continue their tradition of playing the event.

Papadosio announces Earth Night
Papadosio announced that their Earth Night event will return to the Lifestyle Communities Pavillion in Columbus, OH on December 20-21. Both nights will feature shows by Papadosio and other artists, and the 21st will also feature a variety of workshops for attendees. Other artists scheduled to perform include Ott & The All Seeing I, Hundred Waters, Shigeto, and The Main Squeeze.

Yonder Mountain String Band announce EP
The Yonder Mountain String Band will be releasing a new album, cleverly titled YMSB EP '13 on October 8. The 4-song EP features one song written and sung by each member of the band. It's their first studio release since 2009's The Show.

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Greensky Bluegrass will be heading to their home state of Michigan for New Years. They'll be performing at The Intersection in Grand Rapids with The Crane Wives.

Farm Aid
September 21, 2013
Saratoga performing Arts Cetner
Saratoga Springs, NY
Performers include: Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews

City Bisco
September 27-28, 2013
The Mann Center
Philadelphia PA
Performers include: The Disco Biscuits, big Boi, Method Man & Redman, Shpongle, Emancipator, and many others.

September 27-29
Bouckaert Farm
Chattahoochee Hills, GA

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
October 4-6, 2013
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA
Performers include: The String Cheese Incident, Bonnie Raitt, G. Love & Special Sauce, Trampled by Turtles, Devil Makes Three, Gogol Bordello, Steve Martin & Steep Canyon Rangers, and many others.

Austin City Limits
October 4-6, 2013
October 11-13, 2013

The Festy Experience
October 10-13, 2013
Devil's Backbone Brewing Company
Charlottesville, VA
Performers include: The Infamous Stringdusters, jj Grey & Mofro, John Scofield Uberjam, Marco Benevento, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, and many others

Harvest Festival
October 17-19, 2013
Mulberry Mountain
Ozark, AR
Performers include: Yonder Mountain String Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Les Claypool's Duo de Twang, Railroad Earth, Beats Antique, JJ Grey & MOFRO, Greensky Bluegrass, Hot Buttered Rum with Allie Kral, Elephant Revival, and many others.

Hangtown Halloween Ball
October 25-27, 2013
Placerville, CA
Railroad Earth will host the event and perform three shows. Other performers include: Matisyahu, Les Claypool's Duo de Twang, Lotus, Greensky Bluegrass, Elephant Revival, Marco Benevento, and many others.

October 31-November 2, 2013
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
Performers include: 3 nights of String Cheese Incident, STS9, Big Gigantic, Emancipator, Conspirator, Steve Kimock & Friends, Future Rock, and many others.

Robello Cruise
November 1-5, 2013
Sailing out of Miami, FL
Performers include: Michael Franti & Spearhead, G. Love & Special Sauce, State Radio, Rebelution, Trevor Hall, and many others

Bear Creek Music Festival
November 14-17, 2013
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL
Performers include: The Roots, Bootsy Collins, Galactic, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Lettuce, The New Mastersounds, Zach Deputy, Toubab Krewe, The Motet, Break Science, and many others.

Strings & Sol
December 11-15, 2013
Puerto Morales, Mexico
Performers include: Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, Keller & The McCoury's, and Greensky Bluegrass

Mayan Holidaze
December 16-20, 2013
Puerto Morales, Mexico
The event will feature three shows each from Umphrey's McGee, The Disco Biscuits, and STS9, and will also feature Big Gigantic, Papadosio, Cherub, Orchard Lounge, and DrFameus.

Earth Night
December 20-21, 2013
Papadosio will headline both nights. Other artists include: Ott & The All Seeing I, Hundred Waters, Shigeto, and The Main Squeeze.

Jam Cruise
January 4-9, 2014
Miami, FL
Performers include: Les Claypool's Duo de Twang, Bootsy Collins, Galactic, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Keller Williams, Galactic, and many others.

One Big Holiday
January 26-30, 2014
Riviera Maya, Mexico
My Morning Jacket will be performing 4 nights at this event.

Jam in the Sand
February 28-March 4, 2014
Negril, Jamaica
Dark Star Orchestra will host the event. Other performers to be announced.

Panic en la Playa tres
March 17-21, 2014
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Widespread Panic will perform four shows during the event.

Suwannee Springfest
March 20-23, 2014
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL
Performers include: Avett Brothers, Punch Brothers, Sam Bush Band, Southern Soul Assembly, Donna the Buffalo, Greensky Bluegrass, and many others

Wanee Festival
April 10-12, 2014
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL

June 12-15, 2014
Manchester, TN

Thanks again for stopping by. I'll be back next week with more jam. Until then, check me out on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute concert announcements. Until next week, Jam On!


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