Review by: Ethan Chivari
Saturday night, Greensky Bluegrass played the House of Blues in front of a sold out crowd at the Chicago venue. The five piece Michigan-based band is currently on their Winter Tour and is accompanied by Rayland Baxter who opened the show just after 8:30 p.m. Greensky Bluegrass has developed its fanbase the old-fashioned way, one gig at a time.
At about 9:45 p.m. the lights dimmed and centered on five microphones and GSBG took the stage. As soon as the first note of the mandolin rang the crowd cheered and began to move with the music. The overall atmosphere was upbeat and very energetic for an indoor concert. I was amazed by the stage lighting colors and patterns which were constantly changing. The first set consisted of original material of the band and concluded with the fast paced hit “Don’t Lie” which was highlighted by a tremendous jam session with finger bleeding picking and strumming that had everybody in the room moving. The second set included a well-played and interesting cover of “Atlantic City” by Bruce Springsteen. As previously mentioned, the band is comprised of five members, Anders Beck (dobro), Mike Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar), Mike Devol (upright bass) and Paul Hoffman (mandolin). Their song, “Leap Year,” was Greensky at their best. Built around Mike Devol’s typically sumptuous bass line, the way the song alternates between full-throttle bluegrass and almost soulful rock is perhaps the greatest proof that this is a band unfettered by tradition.
Greensky Bluegrass is a band of excellent musicians that delivered more than anticipated. In my opinion, this is a great band at its pinnacle. If the opportunity arises to see them live don’t pass it up. Their stage presence and overall lighting and special effects were a homerun earning them a five guitar rating in my books.
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