Anyone who hasn’t seen The Avett Brothers perform live is missing out on one of the most dynamic, and talented bands to tour in (my) recent memory. Lucky for those people, they have been consistently putting out material since 2002, and touring the world is not likely to ease up anytime soon. I, myself, am still a couple of albums behind. While The Avett Brothers are touring to promote their newest album, I and Love and You, I’m still learning songs from The Second Gleam. But whatever song from whatever album you claim favorite, they probably played it tonight.
Now, the first time I saw The Avett Brothers was back in 2007 at Slims when Emotionalism came out. That show made me a believer. The intensity and passion in which they played reverberated through the entire crowd, especially when they ended with Scott playing drums on “Pretty Girl From Chile”. I knew after seeing them then that I had found a lasting relationship.Their brand of alt-country, folk flavored with the occasional punk and some pop elements was too my liking.
How would that change with their major label debut and sold out show at The Fox theater? Would the intensity still be there, or would the organic feeling of playing in a small venue be missing? There’s no doubt about it, these boys do work hard. From the cleverly, and sincerely written lyrics to the blind emotion in which they are sung, every aspect of their live show is made to entertain and engage their audience. At The Fox Theater, The Avett Brothers had the chance to showcase this with great sound, professional lighting, and an audience worthy of their immense talent.
On stage, Scott and Seth Avett, bassist Bob Crawford, touring cellist Joe Kwon, and unknown drummer (sorry). Throughout the main set,vocalists Scott and Seth would transition from acoustic guitar, to banjo, to electric guitar to piano in a dance that represented the dynamic landscape of their music. Just when you became comfortable listening to Seth sing solo with his acoustic guitar, the whole mood would suddenly change as the drums kicked in with the next song. Mellow and folky followed by loud and twangy. I love me some banjo, and by golly was there banjo!
The really poignant moments for me came when the crowd would sing along, uttering those heart felt lyrics that seem so simple, yet ring so true. No band wears their hearts on their sleeves quite like The Avett Brothers. That alone is not something that can be faked or mimic. Scott and Seth Avett sing those songs like the gospel truth. Can I get an Amen?!
The setlist for the evening.
1. 4 Thieves Gone
2. Head Full of Doubt
3. Go To Sleep
4. Kickdrum Heart
7. At The Beaches
9. November Blue
10. Pretty Girl From Cedar Lane
11. January Wedding
12. Wanted Man
14. When I Drink
15. Murdered in the City
16. The Fall
17. Paranoia in B#m
19. I and Love and You
20. Perfect space
21. Where Have All The Average People Gone
22. Slight Figure of Speech
The Fox Theater show and Slim’s show were two completely different acts. They book-end the musical journey The Avett Brother’s have been on representing their indie roots on through to the beautifully polished sound they have established today.