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Greensky Bluegrass Welcomes Billy Strings, Tears Up NYC [Photos]

first_imgLoad remaining images Friday night saw the Greensky Bluegrass and Billy Strings’ tour land in New York City after a week that also saw “casual Weggendsday” stop in Albany and a gig in Boston. Already this year, the traveling circus of progressive bluegrass maestros has managed gigs in Colorado, Tennessee, and Indiana, and they don’t seem to be showing any signs of stopping. As GSBG has really broken through into being able to sell out larger venues in recent years, it seems they’re taking a lesson from the band that they all met following, Phish, and are committed to squeezing as many shows into a tour as is humanly possible, and hopscotching around the country to make it happen.Fans arriving early got the treat of watching Billy Strings picking on some originals. While the Billy Strings show is necessarily hamstrung by his dearth of overall material to work with, the brief early set gave fans a sense of just how hot his licks can get, and the potential that that band really has, with a mandolin player who can rip the same 128th notes right in tune with Billy. With Playstation Theater’s back seats closed off, the more intimate space really gave fans a sense of being close to the action, more reminiscent of a mountain town bar than Times Square’s lavish basement venue.At around 9:20, Greensky Bluegrass hit the stage and came out of the gates roaring with ‘Burn Them,’ a real party-starter of a number that heated up the crowd. After showing off their barn-burning chops, the group settled in and put some of their more composed songwriting chops on display with ‘Worried Man.’Next up was ‘Living Over,’ featuring what was probably the first proper jam of the night, as Paul Hoffman stretched out a mandolin solo before nodding over to Anders Beck on dobro to take over the lead. Beck’s yearning, exploratory tone at the outset played itself out with gusto, developing into quicker and quicker loops with his licks seeming to chase themselves around the rabbit hole, before finally returning to the song’s chorus, the same lyrics they were singing as they rang in 2018 just a little less than a month ago now. A slowdown was in order after the revelation that was ‘Living Over,’ and the more conventionally bluegrass number ‘Room Without A Roof’ fit the bill. With barely a pause following the ballad, the defining banjo riff of ‘Just To Lie’ rang out from Michael Arlen Bont and the group launched into the set’s real meat.The song’s early solo ended and bled into its more improvisational section as it came back to the lyrics, “I told you that I loved you, just so I could lie beside you,” before repeating the lyric “I told you,” with an echoing reverb. This section almost seemed like trance-fusion, as the group played with the pulsating rhythm of the open space in the song instead of letting the intergalactic jam drift—though, Greensky snapped the fans back into their surroundings with the first verse of ‘Hold On,’ whose “shouted, written down, and quoted” lyric resonates enough that the group named a whole album after it. With a smoking banjo solo there, the band pressed their segue further into The Louvin Brothers’ ‘Great Atomic Power,’ whose lyrics they changed from “for your soul will fly to safety and eternal peace and rest” to “enjoy life’s pleasures like drugs and sex.” That more rock ‘n’ roll lyric got a great reaction from the crowd, as the band finally found their way to the end of a wild ride.After a minute of conferring, the band simmered the crowd down from that rolling boil with the heartwarming singalong ‘Tied Down,’ and then inviting Billy Strings to join them onstage for a pair of tunes. The first was ‘I’d Probably Kill You,’ whose lyrics the group fudged to “I’d probably Bill you,” and “I’d burn your house down, if I somehow knew Billy Strings was in it,” giving the younger Billy a bit of good-natured ribbing from some older souls who are rightfully impressed with (and maybe a little envious of) the remarkable speed and dexterity that Billy brings to the stage. Next up of ‘Miss Maggie,’ which each band member got to take for a ride, and then a well-deserved setbreak.After the jump, the band returned with the same inspired lyricism that the crowd knows them for, coming out with ‘Just Listening’. Next up was ‘Train Junkie,’ whose far out and meandering mandolin intro spent a bit of time heating up by riffing on The Grateful Dead’s ‘The Other One’. ‘Wheel Hoss’ followed the high energy ‘Train Junkie’ as the band continued to demonstrate their ability to mix in traditional bluegrass standards with their own, less conventional bluegrass originals.As the band worked its way into the heart of the set, they brought the emotion in the room to a soaring peak with ‘Dustbowl Overtures’ and ‘Handle Me With Care,’ two songs that really demonstrate the band’s ability to summon the better angels of their audience’s nature and well up real feeling from every open ear in the house. After the band’s classic ‘200 Miles From Montana,’ they returned to the world of traditionals with ‘Hit Parade Of Love,’ first made famous by Jimmy Martin. Finally, the set closed with two of Greensky’s best-known originals, ‘Forget Everything’ and ‘Leap Year’.Watching them play songs like those, that they so obviously adore, it becomes clear to even the most casual fan that if this band wasn’t performing on a stage in New York City, they might just as well be picking on their own numbers in their Crazy Creeks at a Phish festival somewhere. There’s just such a radiant joy in every person on-stage, they really look like there’s nothing else in the world they’d rather be doing. Before sending their fans out into the cold, they gave them one last treat: Rayland Baxter’s ‘Yellow Eyes,’ a rarer cover whose use as an encore gave folks something to hum as they bundled up and headed for the subway, looking forward to another night of the same great music on Saturday.You can check out a gallery of photos below, courtesy of Andrew Scott Blackstein.Setlist: Greensky Bluegrass | PlayStation Theater | New York, NY | 1/26/2018Set One: Burn Them (1), Worried Man, Living Over, Room without a Roof, Just to Lie > Hold On > Great Atomic Power, Tied Down, I’d Probably Kill You (2), Little Maggie (2)Set Two: Just Listening, Train Junkie (3), Wheel Hoss (4), Dustbowl Overtures, Handle with Care, 200 Miles from Montana, Hit Parade of Love, Forget Everything, Leap Year Encore: Yellow Eyes(1) w/ Guido Batista & Luke Milanese (tambourine)(2) – w/ Billy Strings(3) – Other One tease(4) – Macarena dance by PaulGreensky Bluegrass | PlayStation Theater | New York, NY | 1/26/2018 | Photo: Andrew Scott Blacksteinlast_img read more

East Meadow Man Acquitted of Manslaughter in Crash That Killed Cop

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York An East Meadow man has been convicted of some charges but acquitted of second-degree manslaughter in a crash that caused the death of a 25-year-old off-duty NYPD officer two years ago.A Nassau County jury found Jonathan Lopez, 22, guilty Friday of assault, reckless endangerment and reckless driving.Prosecutors said Lopez was racing his Nissan eastbound on the Southern State Parkway when he rear-ended a vehicle driven by Kevin Jessup of Massapequa in the early morning hours of September 2011.“We respect the jury’s careful and lengthy deliberations in this difficult case,” said  Shams Tarek, spokesman for District Attorney Kathleen Rice. “Street racing endangers everyone on the road and its seriousness is reflected in the jury’s guilty verdicts.”Jessup, who had been on the job since 2008, died shortly after the crash.His passenger, 30-year-old Crystal Simons of Valley Stream, was treated for minor injuries along with Lopez and Dawn Smallwood of Melville, whose car was struck by Jessup’s vehicle.He faces up to one year in jail when he is sentenced on Jan. 16.last_img read more

Robot Traffic Cones Are Here To Save Human Lives

first_imgStay on target Robot Dog Astro Can Sit, Lie Down, and Save LivesYou Can’t Squish This Cockroach-Inspired Robot Our roadways are becoming increasingly roboticized these days, but it’s not all about cars with supercruise or autopilot functions. Even the humble traffic cone is being given a 21st-century makeover.UK-based engineering firm Costain has taken terrestrial drone technology and bolted it on to those bright orange targets of high school hooliganism. This isn’t an attempt to one-up that insane toilet paper dispenser or steal Simone Giertz’ crown. It’s about preventing accidents and saving lives.Costain’s cone drones (or maybe drone cones?) can deploy themselves and that keeps humans out of harm’s way. Their placement can be plotted by workers from the comfort and safety of an office and the cones can be ordered into position at the push of a button.They’re not as quick off the line as a Tesla — the cones have a top speed of just 4MPH. That’s intentional, of course. It’s generally not advisable to be in a rush when altering the flow of traffic.Even at that relatively slow pace, Costain says its cones can be deployed in a fraction of the time it would take a human crew to do the same job. Where a worker on the back of a truck might need 15 minutes, a cone swarm can scoot into place in less than 60 seconds.It’s all done without a human ever having to stand dangerously close to passing motorists. Road work zones are notoriously dangerous places. In the U.S. alone there are hundreds of accidents every month, more than a quarter of which result in injury.Granted, those don’t all involve workers who were setting down cones… but if whatever fraction of those incidents did can be prevented by rolling out drone cones then I for one welcome our new robot traffic flow overlords.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more