Grassland String Band

The Grassland String Band performs on the Pulaski St. stage on Saturday, June 25, 2016 in Athens, Georgia, as a part of the AthFest Music & Arts Festival. (Photo: Henry Taylor/htaylor@randb.com)

Downtown Athens gave an extremely warm welcome to the Grassland String Band on the main stage of AthFest early on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s going to be a hot day in Georgia . . . 100 degrees in the shade,” they sang. “All concentrated areas of people in the shade.”

The Grassland String Band performed with a classic country sentiment and upbeat pace, with a bluegrass style bass hop and a giddy banjo roll that’s good for wheel steering and country road rambling.

The band happily included all the necessities with the mandolinist frontman and some of the weekend’s most upfront banjo playing. The fiddle created a mystical harmony that works with the persistent kick drum to liven the foot stomping

A cover of a Dropkick Murpheys’ song, “Shipping Off to Boston,” had the lyrics change to, “. . . then I came to AthFest and lost my leg!” with the melody shredded on a distorted guitar solo.

The Grassland String Band killed the performance with high energy. The group has an EP release on August 26, and the release party is at The Foundry on the August 27.