Susquehanna Breakdown in Moosic full of family sentiment, masterful music May 21
Day two of Susquehanna Breakdown showed how extensive the Cabinet family has become.
May 21 was full of side projects, friendly collaborations, special surprises and high energy headlining sets.
Proud father and Cabinet fiddle player Todd Kopeck took the stage with son Otis on drums and daughter Jillian on trumpet and vocals in the four-piece Kopec.
Highlights were covers of Nirvana’s “Come as You Are” and Donovan’s “Hurdy Gurdy Man.” Jillian Kopec’s trumpet did the singing on the first and she harmonized with father Todd on the latter tune.
Cabinet guitar player and bass player Mickey Coviello and Dylan Skursky played heavy rock and roll with Kingston drummer Josh Karis as The Far Future.
Skursky and Karis were an impeccable rhythm section, allowing Coviello to stray and return with his riffs as he pleased. Karis’ appearance on stage with The Far Future and Free Music Orchestra foreshadowed a pinnacle point in the evening that came later.
Cabinet’s acoustic afternoon set, however, brought the most touching moments of the day. As cousins J.P. and Pappy Biondo began singing Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Our House” they were joined on stage by members of their families and some of their closest friends.
The family chorus continued with a moving rendition of CSN’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.”
Philadelphia outfit Swift Technique delivered the most electric set of the rainy afternoon, keeping people warm with their hot soul funk and James Brown antics. Vocal tandem Chelsea ViaCava and Nik Greeley had an infectious on stage dynamic during “Livin’ in the Kitchen.”
The Infamous Stringdusters’ headlining set was an exercise in mastery of the art of bluegrass. They expertly picked through their tunes “Night on the River” and “Peace Of Mind” while also delivering stylized versions of The Killer’s “When You Were Young” and Tom Petty’s “American Girl.” Cabinet’s Pappy Biondo joined them on stage mid set for some funky dual banjo work.
Will Hughes of Chestertown, Maryland travels to festivals following the Stringdusters. He said musically, he loved the variety at Susquehanna Breakdown.
“You’re going to hear something worth hearing up here,” Hughes said.
When Cabinet came on for their evening set, they opened with crowd favorite “The Tower,” priming the anticipating audience.
After the first song, Mandolin player J.P. Biondo made an announcement.
“This weekend is all about family,” Biondo said. “We’d like to introduce a new member of the Cabinet family, Mr. Josh Karis. He’s going to be with us long term.”
Karis took a seat behind the drum kit with fellow tubsman Jamie Novak behind a kit as well. The band launched into “Mysterio.” The performance was powerful, as if the excitement of the new addition and the little extra Cabinet always finds to give at home came together in an apex of performance.
When the song was finished Pappy Biondo said,” I feel we did alright on that last number.”
The crowd screamed in acknowledgment.
West Pittston drummer Donnie Barnhart said the two drummer Cabinet set was his favorite of the day.
“I bee lined for the stage as soon as the drums came up,” Barnhart said. “They talked well together in drum language, and it seemed like they had fun doing it.”
The hometown boys closed their set with “Heavy Rain,” Todd Kopec bending the conception of what bluegrass can be with his fiddle work.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts