What does a city boy from England know about Bluegrass? Admittedly not too much, so having arrived at Pisgah Brewery I stood at the bar with a bottle full of beer, no preconceptions and waited for Sanctum Sully to show me the good time I had been promised.
As soon as these guys hit the stage it was obvious that it was going to be rowdy rowdy show. From the get go they lived right up to the blurb on their website which promised a foot stomping show with a sound that punches you in the gut. I can tell you that their live performance does exactly what it said on the tin.
I realize a review is supposed to have a set list and talk about the bluegrass scene and sound like it was written by some clever know it all muso, but that would be missing the point. Really, it would. This show wasn't about the details. (The boys on stage take care of the detail.) This show is all about the vibe; the atmosphere, the journey you are taken on. Each song comes rolling out so cleverly that once or twice it was a surprise to realize that the last song had finished and the band were now chatting with the crowd. They're that smooth.
OK, if you insist on a set list I can tell you that unless you have heard them play "Lookout Mountain" you have never lived. "Cornfed" was so rousing and cleverly arranged that it had me grinning for the rest of the evening and once I had heard them "Po Boy" I realized that I knew everything an Englishman needed to know about bluegrass.
Did I mention that topping the bill was Larry Keel? He's a bluegrass legend apparently, and I thoroughly enjoyed his set too. That said, and in my own humble opinion, Sanctum Sully was a hard act to follow and only a legend would have the necessaries to do so. The crowd were rapturous when Larry joined the Sully boys on stage and I felt privileged to be in the right place at the right time and that I had witnessed something special. Boy was I spoiled with Bluegrass magic that night!
Sanctum Sully are already too big for Pisgah Brewery and I can't help thinking how great they would look owning the stage headlining the Orange Peel, with a great light show, a massive PA with a few dozen screaming groupies waiting by the stage door. As it stands their show so big as to almost drown us in the snug venue we saw them in that night. They're going to be around for a long time so I recommend you go see them before their management puts a stop to the open door after-show parties.