The Infamous Stringdusters (photo: Joshua Huver)
On Saturday, January 18, 2019 the Infamous Stringdusters returned to the Fillmore in San Francisco for two sets. The Grammy-winning quintet served up several original compositions alongside a genre-bending selection of covers.
Their original material was a strong selection that spanned their catalog from the 2008 self-titled debut up through their forthcoming 2019 Spring release, Rise Sun. One of the biggest highlights of the evening was “Those Who’ve Gone On” from 2010’s Things That Fly. The track was only played once before, in March 2014 at Bell’s Brewing in Kalamazoo, MI.
Opening the show was San Francisco’s very own modern-day harbingers of a familiar classic rock and roll, Midnight North. They are a band that just makes you feel good, even when they’re singing about heartbreak and loneliness.
Midnight North is fronted by the triple-threat vocal harmonies of guitarists Elliott Peck and Grahame Lesh and keyboardist Alex Jordan. While the guitars and keys soar, bassist Connor O’Sullivan and drummer Nathan Graham of the Terrapin Family Band hold down a thundering groove throughout each song, giving the songs firm grounding.
They pushed through several selections from their 2017 record Under The Lights. The only tracks that weren’t from the album were “Earthquakes” and Peck’s fiery take on the gospel blues classic ‘Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning.”
By the time Midnight North wrapped their set, the crowd had turned “Roamin’” into a sing-along. Between the beginning of Midnight North’s set to the first intermission between bands, the crowd at least doubled and continued to grow, but it was never crowded.
The Infamous Stringdusters, featuring guitarist Andy Falco, double-bassist Travis Book, fiddle player Jeremy Garrett, Dobro player Andy Hall, and banjoist Chris Pandolfi, gave a wild performance at the Fillmore. They have a freewheeling spirit and tons of fun on that stage that the crowd always taps into.
They opened each of their two sets with their only selections from 2014’s Let It Go. The first set began with “Light and Love.” They moved quickly into the first of seven covers of the night with the Bob Dylan classic “Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright).” They followed with a pair from their most recent record, the Grammy-winning Laws of Gravity. “Gravity” segued beautifully into “A Hard Life Makes a Good Song” before the familiarity of Phish’s “Possum” came into play.
After “Possum” the second-ever — and the first in five years — play of “Those Who’ve Gone On” anchored the middle of the set. They took “Maxwell,” from Laws of Gravity, and blasted it into outer space. The jam took an impromptu turn into Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in The Wall” before returning to the set list as written. The set closed with their take on the electronic dance tune “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk.
The ‘Dusters returned to the stage shortly after 10:30pm and kicked things off quickly with the return of “Where The Rivers Run Cold,” which didn’t see a set list for all of 2018. Once again they played a cover for the second song of the set, and it was a second Phish cover. This time the band played “Free” before segueing into their 2012 original “Night on the River.”
“Night on the River” segued into “Black Elk” and marked the final song from The Laws of Gravity that the Stringdusters performed on Friday night. For the next tune, “Porcupine Cove,” the band invited Grahame Lesh and Elliott Peck from Midnight North on stage to perform.
Following the sit-in, the band performed their recently released lead single, the title track from the upcoming record Rise Sun, due in April 2019. They also played another new track, “Another One Like You.” They closed the second set with a cover of “Walkin’ on The Moon” segued into “Black Rock” from their 2008 self-titled debut.
Although, the band exited the stage slow, they returned almost immediately with the entire Midnight North band for a two song encore. They began with the Buffalo Springfield classic “For What It’s Worth” and closed an incredible evening with the Peter Rowan tune “Midnight Moonlight.”