Friday, February 9, 2007


rusted root was one of those bands i kept almost seeing during my high school days. where i grew up, tours didn't often come very close to where i laid my head at night, so concerts became events. we'd drive a few hours without much hesitation if we could acquire tickets to see one of our favorite bands. rusted root definitely fit into the category, yet on two occasions when my friends and i were planning out the trek, for one reason or another, i had to withdraw my participation.

at long last, 10 years and 4 albums later, i finally made it to a show. the venue was small. fairly intimate. we stood maybe 30 feet from the stage. they opened with a few songs from When I Woke, including my favorite song, "Back To The Earth". in fact, they played the majority of the tracks off that album. about halfway through the performance, they pulled the plugs and played about a half dozen songs sans electricity. it was definitely groovy but since most of the songs are essentially acoustic anyway, it wasn't much of a departure from the versions i was accustomed to. after jacking back into their amps, they debuted a few new songs they've been working on, then began warning of the impending "Ecstasy". i think they knew the crowd would riot without it. they left only to return quickly with two encores, the first of which was only Mike Glabicki and a guitar, playing a song from his yet unreleased solo album. in the end, they all gathered into a chorus line, front and center, and thanked the crowd with a series of stage bows. they tossed their respective picks and drum sticks into the crowd and hopped off to the merchandise table.

even though they haven't put forth an album of new material in 5 years, the group still exceeds the energy only hinted at on any one of their albums. they played hard for a few hours, extending almost every song to at least double-length with jamming drum freak outs and improvised acoustic guitar strumming. they even went off into Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" and Dylan's "All Along The Watch Tower" as bridges for gaps between songs. Glabicki undoubtedly knows his way around the fret board and his vocals are tremendously complimented by the soulful wails of Liz Berlin. they have two percussionists (at least) on nearly every song. added to that is the random cabassas, bongos, flutes, whistles, tambourines, and shakers used to keep rhythm by the ladies on either side of the stage. dancing was irresistible. there was nary a body in the house not at least swaying to the beat. its just fervent music that hits you in the guts. especially during "Drum Trip/Ecstasy". the masses exploded within the first few notes of their most popular songs. though i didn't see any bras or panties flying towards the stage, the swooning gestures of the girls in close proximity to me kept no secrets hidden of their fondness for the band.

climactically, i can scratch that off my list of regrets.


Anonymous said...

I too had wanted to see rusted root for years, and I finally go the chance when they rolled through San Fran! I have to say that it was one of the best shows that I have seen over the past year or so. The energy was absolutely amazing- everyone dancing. The show was at the Fillmore- wich is a legendary venue where all the greats have played. Rock on brother!

Monica said...

“Swooning Gestures” – o come on I’m sure those girls were just being friendly.

rustedjeep said...

We got to play on the same playground. Finally.