I can’t say that in the last two years of knowing and seeing Eastbound Jesus that I had been sold on them, let alone found in them what many others have. The ‘Northern Rock’ descriptor is unique but never defined them well enough for me. They have a couple catchy songs, but I couldn’t get into them despite being a huge bluegrass and jamgrass fan. While they without a doubt have a unique sound, I just didn’t fall into it in a way that would make me want to throwdown like their fans do on the dance floor.
That changed when I got a listen of Ruff Stuff Nuff Said, a wonderful live album recorded earlier this year at the same venue they released the album at, Parish Public House (formerly Red Square). I had every intention of going to this show before I heard the live album and couldn’t wait after a single spin of the disk. It has a great flow and choice tracks throughout, as well as a few covers and surprises mixed in. I had found my motivation in this live album to finally get to an Eastbound Jesus show.
Throughout the night the room had an electric vibe that stood out from other local shows – the fans bring this feeling with them and it permeates the audience, welcoming newcomers into an active atmosphere. You could have gone to the show looking forward to your favorite band or checking out something new and your night would be flipped on its axis, casting you out into the night amid a flurry of confusion as to what you just experienced. Eastbound Jesus has that wonderful effect on its audiences and gained at least one fan this past Saturday night.
Highlights from the show included Lucid’s North Country brand of rock which opened the show, a new song unnamed song from EBJ that opened the night and felt inspired by The Band; a great start to the live album from “I Wouldn’t Know” which came out early in the set, “Whisky on Dirt”, “Beat the Baker” featuring Lowell from Lucid on mouthharp and an encore of “Don’t Use it Much” which had a solid “Turn on Your Lovelight” jam and of course, “Holy Smokes”. The group is taking some time off to record in the studio, but when they come back in the springtime, you’ll be sure to find me at their shows from now on fully supporting Northern Rock.
Set 1: New song, Talking to John, Ghost Town, I Wouldn’t Know, Easy Now, Sittin by the River, Where the Winter Goes, KT Belle, Whisky on Dirt, Doors Open, Corn Whiskey, Tennessee, 54 Miler
Set 2: Better Things, Pipe Dreams, Times Wasting, The Storm, Here’s to You, Eastbound and Down, Hawk, Hold on me now, Take a Ride, Wastin on the Sun, Beat the Bakes
Encore: Don’t Use it Much, Ballad of Eastbound Jesus, Holy Smokes