On Friday, November 15th, Billy Strings and his eponymous band hit Brooklyn Bowl for their first of two performances at the Brooklyn, NY venue this weekend.
The first set of the night saw Billy (real name William Apostol) and his band—comprised of banjoist Billy Failing, bassist Royal Masat, and mandolinist Jarrod Walker—work through a number of their progressive bluegrass originals in addition to covers of bluegrass classics like “Home of the Red Fox”, “There Is A Time”, “How Mountain Girls Can Love”, and “The Train That Carried My Girl From Town” > “Black Mountain Rag”. In their trademark style, the band’s first set also featured a more contemporary bluegrass homage (a cover of Greensky Bluegrass‘ “A Letter to Seymour”) and a genre-crossing tribute to their wide-ranging tastes (a set-closing rendition of Pearl Jam‘s “In Hiding”).
The second set continued that trend, as Billy’s Home track “Everything’s The Same” led into a string of covers including John Hartford‘s “I’m Still Here”, The Monkees‘ “Last Train to Clarksville”, The Stanley Brothers‘ “White Dove”, Jeff Austin‘s “Run Down”, and New Grass Revival‘s “This Heart of Mine”.
After the band finished Tinfoil & Turmoil track “Dealing Despair”, Billy introduced a very special guest to the sold-out crowd: “Well, ladies and gentlemen, we got a good friend here with us tonight and he’s one of my favorite guitar players on the planet. You probably know him, this is his home away from home. Why don’t we get our friend Taz out here to come play with us?”
With that, 16-year-old Brandon “Taz” Niederauer strode out onstage with his signature blue D’Angelico to add some extra guitar firepower to the remainder of the set. First, the band ran through Widespread Panic‘s “All Time Low”, which saw Taz rip a guitar solo of which Mikey Houser (and Jimmy Herring) would be proud. Watch a full, pro-shot video of the collaborative cover below:
Billy Strings w/ Brandon “Taz” Niederauer – “All Time Low” [Widespread Panic cover, Pro-Shot]
From there, they segued into John Hartford’s “All Fall Down”, which featured some surprisingly funky group improv by the five talented musicians onstage. Finally, Billy’s “Pyramid Country” and Blackfoot‘s “Train, Train” brought the set to a close. The band returned in their regular quartet configuration for an encore rendition of Doyle– and Teddy Wilburn-penned bluegrass classic, “Roll on Buddy Roll on”.
Billy Strings returns to Brooklyn Bowl tonight for another sold-out performance. For a full list of upcoming Billy Strings tour dates, head here.
Below, you can watch full, pro-shot videos of the entire show and check out a gallery of beautiful photos courtesy of photographer Andrew Blackstein.
Billy Strings – Brooklyn Bowl – 11/15/19 – Set One [Pro-Shot]
Billy Strings w/ Brandon “Taz” Niederauer – Brooklyn Bowl – 11/15/19 – Set Two + Encore [Pro-Shot]
Setlist: Billy Strings | Brooklyn Bowl | Brooklyn, NY | 11/15/19
Set One: Dust in a Baggie, Likes of Me, Home of the Red Fox, A Letter to Seymour, There Is a Time, Hollow Heart, Must Be Seven, How Mountain Girls Can Love, A Love Like Me, Highway Hypnosis, The Train That Carried My Girl From Town > Black Mountain Rag > In Hiding
Set Two: Everything’s the Same, I’m Still Here > Last Train to Clarksville, White Dove, Run Down, This Heart of Mine > Dealing Despair, All Time Low* > All Fall Down*, Pyramid Country > Train, Train
Encore: Roll on Buddy Roll on