Guster at Wolftrap

Hedda and I just got back from seeing Guster out at Wolftrap. The show was opened by Rouge Wave, a rock group with a pretty good but fairly average sound. They were followed up by Ray LaMontagne. He has a fantastic voice, although his songs are a bit too ballad-y to really open for a group like Guster. He’s got some country twang mixed in with a folk rock feel that’s pretty good, though.

And then there was Guster. They have really come into their own as a headlining band. Hedda and I were remembering when we used to see them opening for other groups like Barenaked Ladies or John Mayer. We used to be the only people in the crowd cheering for our band. When I saw them play at the Riviera, they were excited to have some Chinese dudes outside selling bootleg T-shirts, as though it were a milestone on the way to stardom. (Thanks, Ted, for helping me remember the name of the Riv.)

Now, the roles have reversed. The entire crowd is there for Ryan and Adam and Brian (And Joe? What’s up with his limbo status, anyway?), and boy do they ever feed off of it. It’s not that they are huge - they still work their asses off touring and such, but they have a very solid fanbase these days. We were shocked at how many teenagers they still draw.

The show started off a little shaky, perhaps due to the stifling heat. They quickly got on track, though, playing a good mix of old and new. Highlights included a fantastic version of Airport Song. (I really don’t like that song, but man this version kicked ass.) There were also some antics involving a roadie named Scooter, as well as some fevered cowbell. Oh, and Adam played the trumpet.

The show was solid, although it lacked the awesome group dynamic from the last time Guster was in town with Ben Folds. The worst part is that Hedda and I had to duck out early in order to get back to the Metro before it closed.

Which suprisingly turned out to be one of the best parts of the evening. After the driver closed the doors of the shuttle bus back to the Metro station, he came on the loudspeaker and asked, “Does anybody have a car parked at West Falls Church station? This is very important? No? Then this bus is going all the way to Rosslyn station!” Which elicited cheers from the entire bus, since we would get way closer to our final destinations. We got back home probably 1/2 hour earlier thanks to this awesome bus driver.

But it gets better. He had been cracking jokes over the PA system, and after we were on the road, some girls apparantly convinced him to give over the microphone. They got the whole bus singing, with the highlight being a Build Me Up Buttercup. The dude in yellow is a riot.

Best. Metrobus. Ride. EVAR!

Oh, and Guster is for lovers!