Pennsylvania’s hot shot slamgrass group Cabinet is celebrating a decade of music together with a fall run dubbed the 10 Year Tour. First up, the band will hit a few Mid-Atlantic token towns, including Carrboro, North Carolina with Billy Strings (9/8), Charleston, South Carolina (9/9) and Asheville (9/10) before heading up to Marvin’s Mountaintop for Deep Roots Mountain Revival. Cabinet will also make anticipated appearances at Catskill Chill and The Festy Experience, as well as Baltimore for a two-night run with Horseshoes & Hand Grenades.
The Poke Around was able to catch Cabinet’s banjo player Patrick Biondo over the phone last week to reflect on Cabinet’s evolution as a band and to talk about their fall tour.
In light of celebrating 10 years together, what has been your favorite Cabinet album so far and why?
I think Leap was probably my favorite. I haven’t listened to the records in a while, that’s something I’ve been meaning to do. But the first one, the self-titled one was just kind of an introduction to the band, and I think it was the only ten songs we had at the time. And then Leap was the follow up, and that was a time when the guys in the band and I were thinking, are we gonna continue to do this, or are we gonna just hang it up? And that record kind of proved that we had more in us to offer. The way we recorded it, too, was pretty cool. We invited some people in, and there was kind of a live audience while we did the record.
We’re excited to see some Cabinet down south in the next month. Just in the next week you’ll be in North Carolina for two shows, as well as one in Charleston. Is there any particular location you’re looking forward to?
Just getting down south again, I always love getting down south with the fellas. I just love it down there in Virginia and North Carolina. We really have a lot of great fans there and I think people appreciate the music and where it came from a little bit more.
Speaking of Virginia, you guys are playing The Festy again this year. The schedule just came out, and it looks like you guys are playing a late night show from 12:30-2:00 a.m. From the fans’ perspective, they – or we – seem to really love Cabinet’s energy late night. How do you guys like playing those late night sets?
Nice! Any set of music is always an honor to play in front of people. For us it’s not really mentally a huge difference going into it. It’s fun, though, people are a little more rowdy late night and maybe ready to dance more as opposed to setting up a blanket and chilling out. We definitely have played a lot of late night sets, and I think over the years we kind of got known as a late night band. But really we’re just getting up there to play a set as if it were anytime of the day.
How about Catskill Chill this fall, back in your home state?
J.P. and I are getting together with Keller Williams to play Grateful Grass [at Catskill Chill]. We did a couple runs with Keller in the spring, and he asked J.P. and I to come out at Chill and do his Grateful Grass thing, which is Grateful Dead with bluegrass players. So we’re looking forward to doing that. I personally love doing the Grateful Dead stuff, and I think we learned a lot doing that Dead set a few years back (Catskill Chill 2013). Now we even have two drummers, and the Grateful Dead had two drummers.
What’s the actual story behind the name Cabinet?
Well, there’s not really a story I don’t think. I wish there was more meaning behind the name for me, personally. But I think J.P. (mandolin) or Mickey (acoustic guitar) might have a better answer for you than I would.
I don’t think you guys are the only band this has happened with.
Yeah, and initially some of the guys, including me, wanted to change it. But we just decided to stick with it and it kind of morphed with us, you know. I like to think of it as a ‘cabinet of curiosity’ kind of thing where you open the door at any given night and there could be anything inside. That’s the kind of meaning that I’ve evolved into it.
Interview by Meredith Warfield
Cabinet’s 2016 10 Year Tour
9/8 Cat’s Cradle (Backroom) CARRBORO, NC*
9/9 The Charleston Pour House CHARLESTON, SC
9/10 New Mountain Asheville ASHEVILLE, NC
9/16 Deep Roots Mountain Revival MORGANTOWN, WV
9/17 The Capitol Theatre PORT CHESTER, NY**
9/22 The Stone Church Meeting House NEWMARKET, NH
9/23 The Stone Church Meeting House NEWMARKET, NH
9/24 Catskill Chill Music Festival LAKEWOOD, PA
10/7 The Festy ARRINGTON, VA
10/8 The Outer Space / The Ballroom HAMDEN, CT << JUST ANNOUNCED!
10/9 Gateway City Arts HOLYOKE, MA << JUST ANNOUNCED!
10/14 The 8×10 BALTIMORE, MD***
10/15 The 8×10 BALTIMORE, MD***
10/20 Buffalo Iron Works BUFFALO, NY
10/21 The Haunt ITHACA, NY
10/22 The Haunt ITHACA, NY
10/27 The Sinclair BOSTON, MA*
10/28 Higher Ground (Showcase Lounge) BURLINGTON, VT*
10/29 Sherman Theater STROUDSBURG, PA*^
10/31 Brooklyn Bowl BROOKLYN, NY*^^
11/9 The Beachland Ballroom and Tavern CLEVELAND, OH***
11/10 Bell’s Eccentric Café KALAMAZOO, MI***
11/11 Lincoln Hall CHICAGO, IL***
11/12 First Avenue MINNEAPOLIS, MN***
11/13 Waiting Room OMAHA, NE***
11/15 The Barkley Ballroom FRISCO, CO***
11/16 Belly Up, Aspen ASPEN, CO***
11/17 Aggie Theatre FT. COLLINS, CO***
11/18 The Fox Theatre BOULDER, CO***
11/19 The Bluebird Theater DENVER, CO***