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Bluegrass group Yonder Mountain String Band to perform for ‘rowdy’ Columbus crowd at LC

Courtesy of Jay Blakesberg

It’s not often that a bluegrass band makes an appearance at one of Columbus’ top concert venues, but one such band is scheduled to do just that.

Yonder Mountain String Band is slated to perform at 7:30 p.m. at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Friday as part of the band’s winter tour.

“It’s one of this tour’s highlight shows for me,” bassist Ben Kaufmann said in an email.

The Colorado-based band consists of four members: Kaufmann, banjoist Dave Johnston, mandolinist Jeff Austin and guitarist Adam Aijala. Together, the group combines the pure sounds of its stringed instruments to create a form of progressive bluegrass Johnson calls “amalgamated string rock.”

Since the band formed in 1998, it has released five studio albums. The band will highlight its latest album, “The Show,” in the upcoming performance, along with tracks from the band’s upcoming album, scheduled to be released sometime this year, according to a press release.

Some of the band’s most popular songs include “40 Miles from Denver” and “Half Moon Rising,” according to iTunes.

Johnston said in the email that it’s earlier in the year than usual for the band to be on tour, but “our circadian rhythms have adjusted.” 

Kaufmann said he’s excited to be back on tour.

“There are moments when the performance is so connected that it feels as if time speeds up and slows down simultaneously,” Kaufmann said. “Getting to those moments is my favorite part of going on tour.”

Marko Manastyrskyj, a fourth-year in engineering physics, has been listening to Yonder Mountain String Band since happening upon the band’s set at a past Bonnaroo Music Festival. He said those moments Kaufmann described have been the highlight of his experiences with the band’s music as well.

“All the members of the band have a really good sense of time – they’ve been playing with each other for such a long time, their sense of rhythm is just really neat,” Manastyrskyj said. “And they don’t have a drummer to keep it down and that’s really just what sets them apart as a band.”

Marissa Luther, marketing manager for PromoWest Productions, said she’s not surprised by the number of people who typically attend concerts for artists such as Yonder Mountain String Band.

“That type of genre doesn’t get a lot of radio play and a lot of attention, but its fans are very loyal and they follow the bands around to different cities,” Luther said. “They have a very big underground fanbase.”

Manastyrskyj is one such loyal fan – he said he’s seen the band play three times in the past year and plans to attend the concert on Friday.

“There’s a lot of improvising involved, so it’s a different show every time you go,” Manastyrskyj said. “You can follow the band from place to place because you don’t get the same thing from the band every night.”

Katie Anousheh, a fourth-year in social work and Spanish, described the atmosphere at past concerts as “a sense of community.” But even people less familiar with Yonder Mountain String Band’s music can enjoy the band’s concerts.

She said she doesn’t know all of the band’s songs but still has a great time whenever she attends the concerts.

“I feel like you can go into their shows and you don’t even necessarily have to know a lot of their music,” Anousheh said. “The crowd is always just filled with energy and (the band members) bring so much energy to every show.”

Kaufmann said the Columbus crowd’s energy in past shows pushed the band to perform at a higher level. Johnston also said his past experiences in Columbus were memorable.

“You guys get pretty rowdy. That works well for what we do,” Johnston said.

Tickets are available for $25 through Ticketmaster.

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