The Infamous Stringdusters knocked out the crowd at Washington’s, one of Fort Collins, Colorado’s newer venues, with a one-two punch of energetic originals and crowd-favorite covers Saturday night, including a pair of Grateful Dead jams plus a bit of Daft Punk, ZZ Top and The Police mixed in.
Travis Book (bass), Andy Falco (guitar), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle), Andy Hall (Dobro), and Chris Pandolfi (banjo) were particularly ready to knock out this latest gig on their ongoing mountain-town Ski Dust Tour—a show that served as a “rematch” of sorts following an eleventh-hour cancellation in the town three years prior.
As Andy Hall described it during the show, the band had been in the process of loading in for a show at the nearby Aggie Theatre in early 2020 when the Aggie was shut down due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the context, the band seemed particularly happy to play this show three long, arduous years later.
Fiddler Jeremy Garrett, possessor of one of the finest beards in bluegrass, got things going with a rousing “Carry Me Away” before before Travis Book took Tom Petty‘s “Runnin’ Down A Dream” in a dark and downtempo direction. Hall took lead vocal duties but guitarist Andy Falco took over the stage with his tight, lightning fast solo on the tune. Next up was “I’d Rather Be Alone”, a Flatt & Scruggs standard the band included on their upcoming tribute album to the iconic bluegrass duo.
The rest of the first set was a flurry of body blows and head shots with fan-favorite jabs like “Long Time Going”and “Rainbows” zipping through the collective audience’s defenses. Garrett caught the crowd square in the jaw with his fiery fiddle work on his recent collaboration with the band Wood Belly before the entire band swarmed into the center of the stage for a jam on Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”. The wobbly crowd was happy for set break, if only to shake off the sonic onslaught they had just endured.
Comfortably ahead on points, the loose and lanky Dusters retook the stage and continued right where they’d left off, peppering the audience with “A Touch Of Grey” from the Dead and an impressive rendition of ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man”. The hits came faster and faster from there, as did the speed at which the baton was passed between this incredibly balanced group of musicians.
Book would set a thunderous tone on “A Hard Life Makes A Good Song’ and Garrett would deliver a sharp vocal lead, or banjo whiz kid Chris Pandolfi would shred a solo out of nowhere. Sometimes, the band would swarm together at the center of the stage as if surrounding and finishing off a downed opponent, putting their spin on The Police‘s “Walking On The Moon” and an ensuing “Truth And Love” or picking apart old classics like Dead’s “Cold Rain and Snow”
By the end of the second set, the reeling audience was dazed, confused and, most importantly, all smiles. When The Infamous Stringdusters, through Pandolfini, expressed their clearly heartfelt good cheer to be back on Colorado stages for this run before launching into an encore of “Deep Ellum Blues”, the audiences’ roar illustrated raucous noise made the audience illustrated just how simpatico they were with the sentiment.
One of the hallmarks of The Infamous Stringdusters has always been the balance of talent, showmanship, and professional demeanor they possess as a unit. All five members sang a lead vocal without inducing any groans, they all found opportunities to drop in distinctive and impressive solos, dynamic pairings, and moments of true unity that make them the envy of many a band.
With their upcoming run of shows coming with recent Grammy-winner Molly Tuttle like the one at the Spirit Of The Suwannee’s Spring Reunion, they’ll get a chance to show off a more collaborative facet of their game, as well. If that spate of shows, or any other part of their upcoming tours, comes anywhere to your immediate vicinity, don’t duck the chance to see a band in their prime doing what they do best—leaving ears ringing, hearts singing, and fans knocked out by the sheer force of The Infamous Stringdusters’ musical ferocity!
Watch the first few songs of the show below via nugs.net, or head here to watch the full Infamous Stringdusters Fort Collins show, available as a subscriber exclusive. Check out some photos from the show below. For a full list of upcoming tour dates for The Infamous Stringdusters, head here.
The Infamous Stringdusters – 3/4/23 – Set One Preview
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