With bands such as Mumford & Sons making their way to the
Billboard charts, you will no longer need to go to the bayou to
dance along to banjo-filled tunes.
More and more young people are taking a
liking to versatile styles of music. Evidence of that was shown by the reaction
of the students at the Lawn Chair Prophets during the weekly Concert Hour Oct. 3.
Jason “Banjo Slim” Weiss (banjo) and Gunnar Biggs (bass) of the Lawn Chair Prophets put on a very special performance which included one of Palomar’s very own Arts Department Spokespersons Randy Hoffman.
Prophets’ Drummer Toby Ahrens was not able to perform alongside his band mates due to surgery. Hoffman sat in his place at the last minute.
The performance took place on campus in the performance lab. The group played an assorted mix of music including: Bluegrass, Americana and Jazz-influenced arrangements. Almost every seat was filled with people of all ages.
The light-hearted atmosphere gave way to a comfortable interaction between the band and audience. In between songs, Weiss encouraged the audience to sing along and holler while they played. He also opened up the floor for any questions people might have.
Biggs, originally a classical and jazz player, shared his experiences with learning Bluegrass.
“I wanted to learn everything by memory, but I waited till I was 60 years old and had no memory left,” joked Biggs.
During the 50 minute-long show, the music blocked out the outside world and created a happy ambiance. The group’s laid-back appearance added to the carefree essence of the show.
The joyful mood continued as Biggs said, “Banjo players spend half the time tuning and the other half playing out of tune.”
Along with the uplifting songs, the audience was also treated to a bit of background information on the style of music, as well as the band.
The group covered songs including “Blues for Alice,” “The Old Home Place” and even an original by Weiss called, “Zanesville Breakdown.” Home is a common theme for the Bluegrass genre.
My favorite part of the show was seeing the trio get into the music and instrument they were playing. With every pluck of the strings or bang of the drums, their passion for music spilled out.
The audience varied from students to fans who had heard about the performance. Weiss asked who was attending for the purpose of class and a few students raised their hands. As they scrawled down notes, they bobbed their heads along to the music. Others in the crowd were bouncing out of their chairs as the sounds consumed them.
I went to the show not knowing a thing about Bluegrass or if I’d even like it, yet I found myself dancing along to the music throughout the concert.
If this band is ever in town or comes back to Palomar College, I’d recommend putting on your dancing shoes and attending. The Lawn Chair Prophets arrived with a missing member, but managed to leave with a few new fans.