It’s always a nice surprise to show up to a bluegrass show and see a packed house, especially in an urban east coast venue. The intimate Church of Boston holds 225 people but it was near capacity this past Thursday night. Chasing Blue started things off with Scranton, Pennsylvania’s Cabinet playing second. San Francisco based bluegrass rockers, Hot Buttered Rum headlined the night.
Cabinet is a 6 piece band with a lively bluegrass sound and a skilled drummer that kept my feet moving. They were the perfect way to get pumped for the main event, Hot Buttered Rum. Somehow this lovable bluegrass band makes it 3000 miles across the country twice a year to do a handful of shows in tiny bars and clubs around the east coast. We sure are grateful!
Hot Buttered Rum has been around for just over 10 years and in that time they have amassed a serious fanbase. They have nearly 600 live recorded shows on archive.org and even have their own fan site, morebutter.net full of setlists, lyrics, statistics, and other fun info. The band is: Aaron Redner (fiddle/mandolin), Bryan Horne (upright bass), Erik Yates (banjo, flute, mandolin), Nat Keefe (guitar), Lucas Carlton (drums, washboard).
The band played a single set which seemed to get better and better every song. Original songs and some not so typical covers created the canvas for back and forth solos which were played with skill and style. There was so much energy bouncing around the stage, into the crowd, and back again it was hard to focus on one band member for too long. Despite facing some serious feedback sound problems, Aaron kept his composure with his fiddle and played his heart out the whole time.
The middle of the set featured Lucas on the washboard which was great fun to watch. The music seemed to continue on and on in one joyous stream with many songs jamming into the next. Towards the end of the set, a guest bongo player named Brian got up on the stage and accompanied the band for the remainder. His playing beautifully added to the mix and kept the crowd on their toes till the very last notes. The band closed their set with an extremely soulful version of Turn On Your Lovelight.
After a brief break, the band came back out for a single song encore. Then, to the crowd’s delight they hopped off the stage and played a final song, totally acoustic in the midst of the crowd. One thing’s for sure, this band was having just as much fun playing as the crowd was, watching and dancing.
Review by: Jeremy Lach
Photos by: Brett Witten