Barnstar! Has Earned That Exclamation Point!
Barnstar! (yes, the exclamation point is part of the name) is a bluegrass band based in the Boston area. They do not tour often, but when they do it would behoove you to see them.
This was my first show at OBERON which is a performance space that is part of the American Repertory Theatre. Concerts are generally not done there unless they have a theatrical element to them, but Barnstar! was happy to oblige with an aerialist! Then again, their shows are theatrical by nature; one only has to watch Zachariah Hickman (the bass player) to understand.
Walking into the space, I noticed a trio of wandering minstrels (Dietrich Strause, Laura Cortese and Dinty Child) serenading the growing crowd and getting us in the mood for the special drink created by Barnstar! for this show. It was a shame I was still recovering from the flu because the drink looked delicious!
The show started about 45 minutes after doors opened; as soon as they began to play, the energy level soared and did not let up until the show ended.
Taylor ‘Old Train’ Armerding on mandolin, Jake Armerding on fiddle and mandolin, Mark Erelli on guitar, Zachariah Hickman on bass, and Charlie Rose on banjo comprise Barnstar!, with each of them singing lead at various points during the show.
Each of these fine musicians has other projects with which they are involved, but I hope the current wave on which they are riding encourages them to spend more time together.
I did not get a setlist, but I believe they performed every song from their new release, Sit Down! Get Up! Get Out!, as well as their 2011 release, C’Mon! Did I mention they like exclamation points? Both albums have both original and covers on them; the covers are performed bluegrass style, and they are every bit as good as the originals. One of the songs, ‘Sequestered in Memphis’ by The Hold Steady, includes the word subpoenaed! I had never heard the song before but I love it!
The new release includes ‘Trouble’ by Yusuf/Cat Stevens, and even this diehard Yusuf/Cat fan loved it. Also included were songs penned by Neil Young, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, and Rod Stewart.
The harmonies produced by these fine singers give me goosebumps, they’re that good.
If the band needs to add a theatrical element to its shows in the future, maybe Zachariah could demonstrate how to wax a mustache! After all, they sell mustache wax at their merchandise table.
C’mon down to a Barnstar! show if you get the chance; they are worth traveling to see.
Posted on February 9, 2015, in concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged American Repertory Theatre, Barnstar, Bluegrass music, boston, Charlie Rose, concert review, Jake Armerding, Mark Erelli, OBERON, Taylor Armerding, Zachariah Hickman. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.