Recap: The Return of The Original Strangefolk

For the first time in nearly 12 years, Strangefolk took to the stage as the original quartet from Burlington, as the quartet hammered out classics such as Valhalla, Speculator and Roads, yet showed no signs of dust on their sound. The Brooklyn Bowl crowd hung on every note, cheered as each song poured out, rewinding the clock on this classic jam band to the late ’90s.

[All Photos by Parker Harrington]

Playing for nearly three hours following weeks of practice at The Barn outside Burlington and the past few days at the soon to be reopened Capitol Theater in Portchester, the two sets gave a nice variety of songs from across their eight years together, although it sounded like they never stopped playing.

While Reid Genauer had Assembly of Dust and Jon Trafton and Erik Glockler continued to tour with a new guitarist (Luke Patchen Montgomery) and drummer (Trey Anastasio Band’s Russ Lawton), the music of Strangefolk has continued to be played, keeping the tunes fresh to a certain extent. Opening up with Poland, the lyrics “I was thinkin’ about my life, thinkin’ where I’ve come; things he might have said, things he might have done” had an air of autobiography for all four musicians, as the loss of Reid in 2000 and Luke in 2004, as well as Jon’s cancer diagnosis in 2005, led them down many different roads on the path to this reunion. It didn’t hurt that the song contains a reference to Brooklyn either. Valhalla elicited cheers, still a fan favorite. First set closer Alaska (not the Phish song) was classicly jammed and extrapolated by Jon and Reid via Erik’s grooves.

Set 1: Poland , Bus Driver, Valhalla, …As, Pawn, Chasing Away, Alaska, Stout Hearted

Set 2: Speculator, All The Same, Oxbow, Elixir, Rather Go Fishin’, I Tell Myself, So Far Gone, Westerly

Encore: Roads

[via Strangefolk Reunion]

By the second set the sold-out crowd had dissipated, which made for more dancing space, a factor which was needed for the broader jamming of tunes like All The Same, fan favorite Rather Go Fishin’ and So Far Gone. The venue heated up during these 10 minute+ jams, requiring Reid to take off his glasses. At one point during the Roads encore, Jon, Reid and Erik proudly exclaimed, “I dont know where I’m goin but I’ll get there!”, a lyric that many college students heard in the ’90s and could identify with. The meaning of the words is still there, along with the passion.

Strangefolk continues their reunion tour in Burlington at Higher Ground tonight and Friday and then heads to The State Theater in Portland, Maine on Saturday. Stay tuned for updates via @phanart and a full recap next week.

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