At least, that is what Erik Yates, guitarist, flutist and banjo player for acoustic rock band Hot Buttered Rum, thinks.
The band will be bringing banjos, bass and a new drummer to the Great Basin Brewing Co. stage Friday at 9 p.m.
“We are all about the live show and getting people fired up,” Yates said. “We are high energy acoustic rock.”
The band got its start seven years ago in the hills around the Bay Area when a few college friends sat down for a little music and a few glasses of hot buttered rum. The drink of the night not only warmed their conversation, but also gave the band its name.
Hot Buttered Rum has been described as a rock band playing bluegrass instruments.
“The acoustic part of our music … we just get outdoors … in the mountains and play acoustic rock,” Yates said. “Then we bring that back to the San Francisco Bay Area scene and match it up with the computer and concrete kind of lifestyle.”
The band melds blues, folk, bluegrass, jazz and rock together to create their outside sound.
From the San Francisco streets, the band has taken its five members and backwoods rock sound across stages nationwide. The group has performed with Ben Harper, Phil Lesh (a founding member of The Grateful Dead) Bela Fleck, Chris Thile (from the band Nickel Creek), Mike Marshall and Peter Rowan. Hot Buttered Rum has also performed at the Bonaroo Music Festival and toured across the country.
Many of the band members, including Yates, have classical music training from West Coast universities. Yates got his education at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon.
“At first, I needed to be involved with (music) to keep my sanity,” Yates said.
He added that his decision to make music a career came when he realized that he had the tenacity to make it through the business aspect.
“When I felt that, I felt our synergy come together,” Yates said. “We are a bunch of pretty hard-working small-business owners.”
The last time the band of businessmen and bluegrass lovers took the Sparks stage was for the Fourth of July 2008, playing outside the Great Basin Brewery.
But that was before the band lost its mandolin player, Zachary Matthews. Matthews decided to the leave the group in November 2008. In a statement on the band’s Web site, Matthews said his leaving was “the only viable way for everyone involved to move forward.”
Since then, the group has added a little percussion to their sound, hiring Matt Butler as a drummer.
According to Yates, Butler adds a theatrical element to the group’s performance when he monkeys around with the crowd.
In addition to Yates and Butler, the band is made up of Nat Keefe (guitars), Aaron Redner (fiddles, mandolins) and Bryan Horne (bass).
The San Francisco Chronicle has said that the band has “sheer, infectious buoyancy” and Relix Magazine puts them in a category of “stunning instrumental and vocal virtuosity.”
People in northern Nevada can find out for themselves this Friday as Hot Buttered Rum starts its set at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance and $14 at the door. The Great Basin Brewing Co. is located at 846 Victorian Ave.