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"Streetgrass" stompin' boogie

.357 String Band
Turner Hall
Milwaukee, WI
Jan. 11, 2009
.357 String Band .357 String Band .357 String Band

Story and photos by Angela Wagrund

What can be said about a group that has a loyal following in Serbia AND Brew City? It's Leg-stompin', boogie-down madness! And that was the scene at Turner Hall this past Saturday when The .357 String Band headlined.

Opening for .357 was Rachel Brooke, who filled in last minute for Joe Buck Yourself, whose bus just happened to break down on the way. Rachel played a short set filled with her gentle guitar strumming and her sweet from-the-heart lyrics. The Black Diamond Heavies took the stage next, and the two member band (keyboard and drums) have a unique heavy groove sprinkled with a bit of funk. The vocals are rough and heavy, a completely torrid and unusual storm of sound that is like nothing you've ever heard. They played with complete abandon, and got the crowd ready to keep the momentum of the night going.

The .357 String Band has always had a loyal following in this area, yet being in this venue was a vast change from Mad Planet or Locust St. Days. Turner Hall was packed with a diverse crowd; from kids with fantastically bright mohawks to parents with children in tow, all eager to lend an ear and stomp their feet to what the band describes as "streetgrass." Not solely fitting into the punk, bluegrass, or rockabilly categories, but appeals to fans of these genres all the same.

The four members began with "Milwaukee Here I Come," by Jimmie Martin, immediately getting the crowd moving and thirsty for more. They played "Up Jump the Devil" like it was the first time, and the crowd reacted as if it were the first time they'd heard it. The energy from stage was palpable and infectious. Without any drums, the beat was strong and the crowd moved in accordance.

As with any .357 String Band Show, there was positive energy throughout the place, even when "Down on a Bender" was played. Jayke Orvis gracefully dealt with technical difficulties and owned the vocals and mandolin. Joe Huber's banjo playing was fast and mean, and Derek Dunn smoothed it all over on guitar. Rick Ness kept the beat on kontra bass, climbing on top of it to play at times.

All in all, the show was amazing, and if the stars align like this again, PLEASE, do yourself a favor, and be there!
.357 String Band .357 String Band

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