PHOTOS: Billy Bauer Band and Cubbage at Musikfest Cafe (Dave Matthews Band Tribute)

We came back to Pennsylvania for the Thanksgiving holiday, and just in time — because a night of stellar musicianship was in-store for us upon our return to Bethlehem.

Christmas City natives Billy Bauer Band held their annual Dave Matthews Band tribute show at Musikfest Cafe at SteelStacks, selling out the room for another year in a row as they played favorites from the contemporary jam band alongside choice selections from their own catalog, including recent single, “So I Love.”

Opening the night was the soulful Cubbage, who came out in trio form on Friday night to warm up an already-hot crowd. The band, led by namesake and frontman Anthony Cubbage, dazzled with their versatility and musicianship, starting with upcoming single “Secrets,” all the way through set closer, the jazz-pop banger, “Beautiful Night.”

Then, it came time for the evening’s headliners, who arrived as a six-piece Friday night with the additions of contributing members Bobby Siegfried (keys) and Garrett Powell (sax). Bauer’s impressive vocal register was on full display as the band progressed through a set that offered DMB standards like the popular “Ants Marching” and “Crash,” as well as rarities, like Bauer’s stripped-down, solo rendition of “Long Black Veil.”

Electric violinist Chris Lorenzetti also stood out on this night, playing off the audience and his bandmates all night long to deliver an ambient, otherworldly energy that has become this band’s X-factor.

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