This past Saturday the proud Pennsylvanians of Cabinet and a slew of their faithful followers gathered at the beloved New Mountain Theater in downtown Asheville to hear some old time music done in a very new kind of way.
As the six members of Cabinet took the stage, the energy of the place was some a fluid cross between an old time country dance and a “One more Saturday Night” Dead party. A beautiful blend of electric banjo, bass, and guitar; a mandolin, fiddle, and two drummers.
The boys eased into the night, opening with “Admitting” into an uplifting “Hit It On The Head”. After warming up their fingers and the crowd alike, all acoustic instruments were broken out for an “Arco>Jam>Arco” which proved to be an absolute treat. Showing the span of their abilities, the boys’ instrumentation ventured from a dark Saturday night in the mountains of Asheville to tropical islands, and even to the far east with their worldly (at times dub-esque) jams. The groove was irresistible as the band led the crowd through “Treat”, “Pos Reel”, and “Cut Down”. Elbows were flying and couples twirling in time when cousins J.P. (mandolin) and Pappy Biondo (banjo) led the rest of the fellas into their foot-stomping staple “Susquehanna Breakdown”. Not to end on a low note, this rowdy Saturday night crowd was given just what they needed with one of Cabinet’s staples “Aint Gonna Work Tomorrow“.
After drinks were all refilled, the Pennsylvania pickers made their way back to the stage. Starting the set off with an ode to “Miss Molly”, the swingers and shakers all fell right back into place. “Eleanor” followed and led the crowd into the deep, beautifully heavy, and worldly jam “Mysterio”. The boys seemed right at home in these Blue Ridge Mountains as they stomped their way through “Heavy Rain” before swinging through the simply elegant “Hey Baby”. The energy was in full throttle as Cabinet played their classic tune “Caroline” into a timeless cover of The Byrds’ “Mr. Spaceman”. Right on time, Cabinet gave the Dead fans of the crowd a cherry on top as the drumming duo touted their time and rhythm with an incredible “Drums”, with the rest of the boys slowly making their way back to the stage through “Space”. The extended “Shady Grove” jam that followed proved it to be a good thing some of the early birds had gone to bed. There was no room in the crowd for idle bodies as the boys soared through one of the most epic bluegrass numbers of all time. Burning hot through a fiery finish, Cabinet payed homage to their traditional Appalachian roots, closing with a not-quite-traditional rendition of “Diamond Joe”.
Setlist – Cabinet – New Mountain AVL 9/10/16
Set One: Admitting>Hit It On The Head, Arco>Jam>Arco, Treat, Pos Reel, Cut Down, Susquehanna Breakdown, Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow
Set Two: Ms. Molly, Eleanor, Mysterio, Heavy Rain, Hey Baby, Smile, Any Old Sign, Caroline>Jam>Spaceman>Drums>Space>Shady Grove
Encore: Diamond Joe