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Transmission
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Concert Wed Oct 17 2012

Spend Two Nights With Yonder Mountain This Weekend

One of the benefits of living in Chicago is that with the slightest effort, the city will deliver up on whatever scene you could possibly desire. While seemingly not quite as well-publicized as some other, perhaps more indigenous genres, the bluegrass scene is surprisingly vibrant, owing to talented home-grown bands such as Sexfist and Flatland Ramble who keep the scene interesting with regular performances around town, and the occasional guerrilla jam at random illegal back-alley microbreweries. For devotees of the bluegrass scene, and there are plenty in cultural Mecca that is Chicago, this weekend will provide a special treat as Colorado-based neo-bluegrass jammers Yonder Mountain String Band play a two night stand at The House of Blues this Friday and Saturday.

To look at the band, made up of Adam Aijala on guitar, Dave Johnston on banjo, Jeff Austin on mandolin, and Ben Kaufman on bass, one might expect them to stick to the script and play traditional bluegrass, or perhaps to dabble in the sort of pyrotechnic "newgrass" of legends such as New Grass Revival, but that would be selling them short, as their latest album, 2009's The Show amply demonstrates. While the band is indisputably technically proficient, and is capable of delivering on that promise on more traditional leaning numbers such as "Out of the Blue," Yonder's music really gets interesting when the songwriting dips into the group's rock influences, lending a funked-up swing to the classic instrumentation. Songs like "Steep Grade, Sharp Curves" seem an obvious tip-of-the-hat to classic mid-'50s country music, while others with a more obvious modern feel such as "Belle Parker" and "Complicated" sound a little like what you'd get if you crossed indie-rock with a front porch jug band. While there is nothing at all wrong with their recorded output, Yonder Mountain's forte has always been the live show, where they can truly blend their extremely diverse musical influences and launch on interesting excursions and distractions highlighting both their chops, and their whimsy.

Yonder Mountain String Band plays two shows at the House of Blues Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20 at 8:30pm. Tickets are $26 in advance, $30 the day of the show, or available as a two-day pass for $49. Brown Bird opens. The House of Blues is located at 329 N. Dearborn St.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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