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Jam Central Station: Greensky Bluegrass – 1.11.17 – House of Blues – Cleveland, OH

January 20, 2017 | Posted by Jeff Modzelewski

Greensky Bluegrass opened their 2017 touring schedule with a show in Cleveland last week. The band pulled in a great crowd on a cold Cleveland Wednesday night, packing the House of Blues tight and building an impressive amount of energy into the building. Greensky Bluegrass in many ways is a rock band in a bluegrass band’s clothing, and they brought all of the power of a rock and roll show into Cleveland. With 2 solid sets, some great tunes, and a few surprises, the band got the new year off to a great start.

Greensky opened the first set by showing off many of their different sides over the course of the first few songs. They kicked things off with “Ain’t No Bread In The Breadbox,” putting their own stamp on the well known Jerry Garcia Band classic. It was a great fit for this not-quite bluegrass band. They stretched their legs on it as well, bringing out a mellow jam in the middle of the song. They pulled out their introspective side with “More Of Me” with the dobro work and the harmonies on the chorus standing out. “Less Than Supper” didn’t speed things up but does have an upbeat “island groove” that had the crowd swaying nicely, and “Bringing In The Georgia Mail” sped that up into a bluegrass party. In the span of their first 4 songs they showed 4 distinctly different personalities but did so in a way where it all fit together.

They followed up with a pair of tunes off of their newest album, Shouted, Written Down, and Quoted.. “Run or Die” was a nice jam, and the short but powerful “While Waiting” was a crescendo moment for the set. Paul Hoffman is one of the great modern songwriters in my opinion, and he does this introspective style impeccably. He needed only 3 minutes to draw the crowd into an excellent moment on this song. The band segued a dark intro jam into “Dry Country.” The instrumental gave the crowd a chance to re-orient themselves in preparation for the closing of the first set. And it was truly an excellent closing, with the band taking over 20 minutes to go through “Demons” and “All Four.” “Demons” saw the band attacking their instruments with vigor while still in lock-step with one another, all the way down to a little post-chorus choreography. “All Four” let the band jam out a bit, with Anders Beck on dobro and Dave Bruzza on guitar standing out while the band as a whole was able to successfully blend their individual riffs together into a powerful unified sound.

The second set opened with the Dave Bruzza-led “Take Cover.” While Hoffman is the primary songwriter and vocalist, Bruzza songs are always a good way to switch things up, and his country-drawl vocals provide a nice contrast. This was followed by a sped up version of one of my favorite tunes “Burn Them.” “Fixin’ To Ruin” and “Jaywalking” followed, both songs that gave the crowd something to sing along to. The funky main riff of “Jaywalking” mixed with Hoffman’s powerful vocals on the tune made for a powerful mix. They picked up the pace again for a sprawling cover of “When Doves Cry.” The band took the classic 80’s tune and turned it into a nearly 15 minute bluegrass jam. While they obviously approached the song in a completely different way than the original the band more than did the song justice and put their heart and soul into the cover. Each member took a solo that built upon the last, and they had no problem with the fast switches. Another definite highlight and crowd favorite for the night.

After “When Doves Cry” Anders Beck put down his dobro and picked up a microphone to lead the crowd through act as MC while the band went through an entertaining version of “Casual Wednesday,” including a shoutout to Mike Devol’s niece who was celebrating her birthday in the crowd. After the lighthearted moment Bruzza led the band through “A Letter To Seymour” before handing the reigns back over to Hoffman. A solid “In Control” led into an excellent “Leap Year” to close the set. Unfortunately a handful of folks near the front started the vocal fill that comes near the end right at the beginning of the jam and continued it for much longer than necessary. The band obviously wasn’t ready to go back into the end of the song (and they didn’t submit to the will of this small section of the crowd) but unfortunately they did succeed in making it difficult to enjoy the excellent work being done on stage. The encore started with a quick verse of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” before closing with a standard version of “Miss September.”

Overall the band started 2017 off with a bang. This is the first time I’ve had the chance to see a full 2-set show from the band and I enjoyed every second of it. There band went through 20 songs and over 2 1/2 hours of music and kept the crowd engaged the entire time. Their crowds keep getting bigger and their past 2 albums have been nothing short of excellent. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.

Delfest announces lineup
Delfest announced the lineup for their 10th anniversary. The festival will continue to feature the Del McCoury Band as well as many Delfest veterans. Other artists announced include The Travelin’ McCoury’s featuring Dierks Bentley, Trey Anastasio Band, Gov’t Mule, Bela Fleck & Chris Thile, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, and many others.

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds announce tour
The Dave Matthews Band is taking 2017 off, but two members will be heading on tour. Dave Matthews and longtime collaborator Tim Reynolds will be doing a run in the eastern half of the U.S. starting in May that will see the duo playing amphitheatres.

May 3 Tuscaloosa, AL – Tuscaloosa Amphitheater
May 6 Nashville, TN – Ascend Amphitheatre
May 7 Nashville, TN – Ascend Amphitheatre
May 31 Alpharetta, GA – Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
June 2 Philadelphia, PA – The Mann Center
June 3 Philadelphia, PA – The Mann Center
June 4 Canadaigua, NY – CMAC
June 6 Wantagh, NY – Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
June 7 Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
June 10 Chicago, IL – Huntington Bank Pavilion
June 11 Chicago, IL – Huntington Bank Pavilion
June 13 Clarkston, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre
June 14 Cuyahoga Falls, OH – Blossom Music Center
June 16 Saratoga Springs, NY – Saratoga Performing Arts Center
June 17 Saratoga Springs, NY – Saratoga Performing Arts Center
June 18 Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion

Jam Cruise
January 20-25
Sailing from Miami, FL
The Original Meters, moe., GRiZ, Galactic, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Benevento Russo Duo, Lettuce, Kamasi Washington, The Revivalists, The Motet, Beats Antique

Los Muertos Con Queso
January 25-28
Riviera Maya, Mexico
The String Cheese Incident, Bill Kreutzmann & Bob Weir with Dave Schools, Jeff Chimenti, and Tom Hamilton, Chris Robinson Brotherhood

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds: Three Concerts On The Beach
February 23-25
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Winter Wondergrass Colorado
February 26-27
Steamboat, CO
Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, Elephant Revival, Infamous Stringdusters, Sam Bush Band, Fruition, Brothers Comatose, Steep Canyon Rangers, Billy Strings

Panic En La Playa
February 27-March 3
Hard Rock Hotel
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Widespread Panic, Orgone, Southern Soul Assembly, Playa All Stars

Winter Wondergrass California
March 31-April 2
Olympic Valley, CA
Greensky Bluegrass, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, Sam Bush Band, Hot Buttered Rum, Fruition

Wanee Festival
April 20-22
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
Bob Weir, Widespread Panic, Trey Anastasio Band, Gov’t Mule, Leftover Salmon, Blackberry Smoke, Matisyahu, JJ Grey & Mofro

Sweetwater 420 Festival
April 21-23
Centennial Park
Atlanta, GA
Widespread Panic, Trey Anastasio Band, Ween, moe., Lettuce, Slightly Stoopid, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Anders Osborne, Dark Star Orchestra, Twiddle

Summer Camp
May 25-28
Three Sisters Park
Chillicothe, IL
moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Trey Anastasio Band, Primus, Mike Gordon, EOTO, The Floozies, The Infamous Stringdusters, Keller Williams KWahtro, The Wood Brothers, TAUK, Twiddle, The Werks

May 25-28
Cumberland, MD
The Travelin’ McCoury’s featuring Dierks Bentley, Trey Anastasio Band, Gov’t Mule, Bela Fleck & Chris Thile, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, Fruition, Jeff Austin Band

Dark Star Jubilee
May 26-28
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
Dark Star Orchestra (x3), Greensky Bluegrass, Hot Tuna (acoustic and electric), Keller Williams and KWhatro, Rumpke Mountain Boys

Nelsonville Music Festival
June 1-4
Nelsonville, OH
Ween, Emmylou Harris, Rodriguez, Son Volt, Sara Watkins, Parquet Courts

Mountain Music Festival
June 1-3
Wonderland Mountain
New River Gorge, WV
Umphrey’s McGee, The Revivalists, Twiddle, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Big Something, Spiritual Rez, The Southern Belles

June 8-11
Manchester, TN
U2, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weeknd, Big Gigantic, Greensky Bluegrass, Umphrey’s McGee, Turkuaz, Twiddle

Mountain Jam
June 16-18
Hunter Mountain, NY
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Steve Miller Band, Peter Frampton, Gary Clark Jr., Michael Franti & Spearhead, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Elephant Revival, Shovels & Rope, The Revivalists, The Infamous Stringdusters

Electric Forest I
June 22-25
Rothbury, MI

Electric Forest II
June 29-July 2
Rothbury, MI

High Sierra
June 29-July 2
Quincy, CA
Trey Anastasio Band, Ween, Galactic, Mike Gordon, Fruition

June 30-July 2
Turin, NY

Northwest String Summit
July 13-16
Horning’s Hideout
North Plains, OR
Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Del McCoury Band, JJ Grey & Mofro, Elephant Revival, Fruition, Turkuaz,

Levitate Music & Arts Fest
July 8-9
Marshfield, MA
Dispatch, Umphrey’s McGee, Ziggy Marley, Lake Street Drive, The Revivalists, Twiddle, JJ Grey & Mofro, Rubblebucket

Floydfest 17: Freedom
July 26-30
Floyd, VA
Michael Franti & Spearhead, St. Paul & Broken Bones, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, Shovels & Rope, Turkuaz, TUAK, Fruition

August 24-27
Arrington, VA
The Avett Brothers, Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic, The String Cheese Incident, Umphrey’s McGee, moe, Greensky Bluegrass, John Butler Trio, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, TAUK

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!