It was pretty clear from the outset of last night that the Midwest is aiming to kick away the winter ice. There is no better way to do this than with some bluegrass, which is what happened at Milwaukee’s historic Turner Hall.
The evening began with the Americana trio The Last Revel out of Minneapolis. They played a robust set of folk focused tunes from their self-titled 2016 release as well as cuts from their solid 2017 release Hazard & Fate. They have a loyal Midwest who expressed themselves during their set.
Still, most of the people in the capacity crowd were there for the headliner. Fresh off the heels of their Grammy win, The Infamous Stringdusters hit the stage for a two plus hour whirlwind of wild bluegrass. It doesn’t take much for Sconnie Nation to get out for a bootstompin bluegrass show. The Stringdusters are known for playing as wide-ranging setlist as any band today, and this night was no exception. They kicked off the show with “Don’t Mean Nothin” from their 2012 release Silver Sky. It didn’t take long for the crowd to start their gyrating and bobbing which was acknowledged by the band, as guitarist Andy Falco said, “you guys are clearly here to party. We know Wisconsin folk know how to party.” They then jumped into “See How Far You’ve Come, “a traditional bluegrass number that often features a female guest singing. The highlight of the first set followed shortly thereafter at they band eased in to the Allman Brothers mainstay “Jessica.” The band then made there way to a mix of older tunes and closed out the set with “I Run to You,” the final track from the Stringdusters Grammy award winning release Laws of Gravity. This song highlights the talents of each band member, where they trade of solos, jams, and combine their tightknit harmonies. The crowd was then informed of a short setbreak followed by, according to fiddler Jeremy Garrett, a long night of partying. The crowd at Turner Hall was certainly ready for this.
They opened up the second set to cheers with the Johnny Cash classic “Big River.” They then jammed out “Summercamp” into The Police’s “Walking on the Moon.” Regardless of people’s familiarity with the group’s catalog, what unfolded from that point was magical for everyone in attendance. One thing can be said for sure about The Infamous Stringdusters, they don’t play the same set every night and even the most seasoned fan will be treated to novelty. Each night is curated with thoughtfulness and includes changes in pace, direction, and feel to showcase the talents of the ensemble. This evening was no exception from this growing force in music.