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Yonder Mountain High.

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It is a rare treat to see a band play at a venue that they have long since outgrown.

On a tour filled with dates at places like the Fillmore (capacity: 1,250) and Montbleu Resort (1,400), bluegrass behemoth Yonder Mountain String Band stopped in Sacramento for the first time ever and played a nearly packed house at our very own Harlow’s. Capacity? 300 and change.

It was amazing.

"We’re gonna have some fun tonight!" frontman and mandolinist Jeff Austin proclaimed a few songs into the first of two rollicking sets.

"This is the most intimate show we’ve played in a long, long time."

As you might expect, this proclamation was met with an enormous, prideful roar from the gathered throng. I would venture that it was a near perfect crowd. The venue was full, but not impassable. The route from the back bar to the restrooms, though crowded, was navigable. The fans that had come were fully aware of how lucky they were to be there, and what we lacked in numbers, we made up for in enthusiasm.

"They are amazing" said a clearly stoked Maya, who was losing her Yonder V-Card that evening.

Maya’s friend Erin, a vet of numerous shows, added, "I haven’t seen them in like four years. I feel like a real asshole."

A couple of songs into the second set, at the end of an extended jam on the rollicking, guitar driven "Damned if the right one didn’t go wrong," the crowd reached a level of ecstasy that I don’t think I’ve ever seen at Harlow’s. It was the loudest and most lengthy applause that I have been a part of in my 20 (30?) odd shows.

It was chill inducing and the boys on stage were eating it up. "If you’re having even a portion of the fun that we’re having, then you’re having a great time," Austin said before adding, "Why haven’t we played here before?"

The worlds funkiest string quartet made up for lost time with nearly three hours of incredibly high energy Colorado jam-grass, and one of the best shows I’ve seen this year.

If Sunday night’s show was any indication, their first Sacramento show most certainly won’t be their last. I just hope they don’t further outgrow Harlow’s before their next visit.

Man, what a treat.

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