Michael Glabicki, the singer-songwriter and lead vocalist of Rusted Root, looked a little out of place behind his sunglasses on the small stage in the Putnam Den. After all, he and his Pittsburgh-based band were used to playing much bigger venues and festival stages.
To Glabicki’s left, co-founding band-member Liz Berlin stood at the microphone, holding a set of mallets and a drum slung around her neck. In the shadows behind her, one of the outfit’s two lead guitarists Colter Harper waited cradling his Telecaster.
On the other side of the stage, the other original surviving band member, Patrick Norman readied himself on his electric bass, while guitarist Dirk Miller fiddled behind him with his amp.
Anchoring the Rusted Root line up last Wednesday night was Preach Freedom, who was settling in behind the drum kit.
A sea of fans surrounded the stage, stretching all the way to the back of the room. As if standing on the pitcher’s mound, Glabicki shot a quick glance left and then right before he threw out the first note, launching the band into an explosive and impassioned two-hour set filled with percussion-driven jams of roots and world-beat rock.
For longtime Rusted Root fans, they played their 1990’s radio hits, “Send Me On My Way,” “Ecstasy” and “Martyr.” But for their hardcore fans, they reached way down into their songbag to unearth some vintage gems and mix them in with numbers from their latest albums, 2009’s “Stereo Rodeo,” as well as a few tunes so new that they have yet to be recorded.
Earlier in the evening, opener and fellow Pittsburgh native Adam Ezra and his band performed a spirited set of roots music complete with guest appearances by Rusted Root’s Harper, Freedom and Miller on several tunes.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk