Cabinet plus Dirty Bourbon River Showbkbowl_logo_patch

The Brooklyn Bowl

April 22 2015

by Miles Hurley

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This past Wednesday on April 22, Relix magazine hosted Earth Day at Brooklyn Bowl, the coolest musical hideout on this coast of the country.  They couldn’t have chosen a more eclectic and cool couple of bands to help them do it: The Dirty Bourbon River Show opened for the six-piece string band, Cabinet.


I knew there was to be an opener but didn’t know who, and wasn’t quite prepared for The Dirty Bourbon River Show. After the close of imagetheir set, I knew I had to say a couple words about them in this review. A weird and wildly awesome five-piece band, they hail from New Orleans, but I’d describe them as a band of savvy monsters that stormed through the Southern music capital and stole bits of its jazz and swing for their own Frankenstein-type creation. Their set was an hour of equal parts punk rock, sultry jazz, and bouncy funk. They came hard and fast and full of energy, but did so with a very nice rich, full band

Topping off the duality of their musical influence was a few members soloing on a variety of instruments including sax, tuba, flute, piano, and clarinet, as well as a couple of different styles of singing. The lead singer had a great growl of a voice, while the backup singer covered the soulful pipes. Their new album is entitled, “Things Humans Should Know,” and they played a couple new tunes from this including my favorite of the set, “Animals,” which, again, was a too cool combination of their gypsy-esque intrigue and groovy ska. The opening crowd was intimate but delighted: people were prancing around like hipster monkeys who just discovered a musical secret-one that I feel more music lovers should definitely know about.

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CABINETimage (2)

Cabinet, whom I’ve gotten to see a few times now, is a fantastic, six-member string-band sensation from Wilkes Barre, PA.  They opened the show with a bit of music-drifting odyssey that the rest of the night would reign in. “Hit It On The Head,” a bluegrass tune with a fast rock sound, started things off hot but then melted into something spacey and ambient, and then went into “Doors,” a song that grew to a pop-song kind of pretty with building intensity and emotion.

The next few songs were some straight bluegrass numbers: “Poor Man’s Blues,” “99 Years (And One Dark Day),” and “Cut Down Tree.” In these bits, band members got their first more ripping solos of the show and showed instantly how well and fast they could pick. “Cut Down Tree” was a solo fest especially.

Things amped up from here, as this is one of the true contemporary “new-grass” bands touring around today. From the clean-cut, classic Monroe-Scruggs era type stuff to the newer, headier creations from the likes of revival musicians and jamgrass groups, Cabinet is one group that hits on nearly all sub-genres of bluegrass in their shows, with music that wanders easefully back and forth between them and good ol’ grass.image (3)

On this night in Brooklyn they showed a true appreciation of the old school playing (like on songs “Po’s Real,” “Nashville Blues,” and “Celebration”) with slick, tight picking, but then infused it with their own multi-colored style. Their songs morph chameleon-like from one sound to the next and back, touching upon everything from reggae (“Lay Low”) to indie-folk (“Eleanor”) to feelin’ bad bluesy foot-stompers (“Bottom Of The Sea,” “Heavy Rain”). They are at once both a group of americana musicians with some really rich songwriting, and a true live band that can really jam.

And jam far and out they did last night, for super-speed picking wasn’t the only place they showed their talent for their instruments. As the night went along, the music slowly steadily drifted further into areas of incredible headiness.  “Caroline” > “Shine Like The Sun,” and bit later “Eleanor” > “Mysterio” were fully jam-rock type tunes, mixing some more cool band-in-unison funky riffs with near-jazz style picking. “Treesap” > “Dirt” kept a folk vibe, but charted full-on into jamband territory with combinations of space, interweaving improvisation and fast-rocking melodies. A little bit into the second set, I looked around to see that the Bowl had turned into its alter-ego as a rocking dance hall, with a crowd that had tripled with listeners unable to resist and sit still any longer. After a few more grass tunes, “Susquehanna Breakdown” worked, as it usually does, as a set closer or opener to bid farewell on a strong, fast-pickin’ note. This last tune also shares the name of their upcoming festival in Scranton, Pennsylvania where they’ll play all weekend long with a number of other great roots and rock bands.

This was the best way I’ve ever spent Earth Day, that’s for sure.




Hit It On The Head>


Poor Man’s Blues

99 Years (And One Dark Day)>

Cut Down Tree


Shine Like The Sun

Po’s Real

Old Time Songs




Set Two:image (1)

Bottom Of The Sea

Lay Low



Nashville Blues

Shifty Shaft

Heavy Rain

The Tower


Susquehanna Breakdown


Check out the Live Music News and Facebook page for updates and announcements.

To Submit a review for consideration hit us at [email protected]


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