Concert Review: Greensky Bluegrass and Hot Buttered Rum

Greensky Bluegrass's newest album, Handguns

By Marisa Marlowe and Mackenzie Gilchrist

Greensky Bluegrass and Hot Buttered Rum 
Porter’s Pub at UCSD
November 8, 2011

The moon was waxing as a crowd of beer and whiskey enthusiasts gathered at Porter’s Pub last Tuesday night to see Greensky Bluegrass and Hot Buttered Rum. As we entered onto the sprawling open patio at the back of the dance floor, the first thing that caught our attention was how sweet this venue was. In the center of the UCSD campus, Porter’s Pub consists of a decent sized stage, a covered dance floor and huge open patio at the back with the bar, tables and a giant screen projecting the band on stage. The best part however, is that despite the fact that it is indeed a “pub” with a great selection of beer for those 21+, it is open to all ages! This is certainly a rarity in the San Diego area and bluegrass fans of all ages came running to hear these two talented groups of musicians jam for the evening. Hot Buttered Rum played first, calling out to the crowd to leave their recreated image that was streaming for those gathered on the patio to come inside and enjoy the music live. Their set got the crowd moving to the music that is sweeter than their name. They played some of their old stuff such as “Busted in Utah” but threw in a couple songs from their new album Limbs Akimbo as well.

The crowd was well warmed up by the time that Greensky Bluegrass took the stage. The Michigan natives, while far from home, had many fellow Michiganders in solidarity at the show, and the entire crowd seemed to love every minute of their energetic performance. Although we can appreciate their music in any form, there is no comparison to watching these five guys perform live. They have an energy onstage that permeates through the entire crowd and their chemistry is truly wonderful to witness. They feed off on one another so well it is like watching them having a conversation on stage with their instruments, and it’s obviously about something happy because they smile the whole way through. Like Hot Buttered Rum, they played a lot of their older songs but threw in some tracks from their new album Hanguns—our personal favorite was “All Four.” The band did not take a set break and played strong and soulfully into the evening. For the grand finale, as Dobro player Anders Beck promised us in his interview earlier this month, the two bands joined up for one giant jam that spilled euphoric reverberations upon the audience and ended the night with a bang. If you have not had the chance to see these guys already, we insist that you check them out next time they are in town!