INLE Live: The Avett Brothers

Well, tis finally my turn to contribute something in the INLE Live category.  Wolfmansbrother, DCDC and just about everyone else had offered some insight on a live show here, there or anywhere. I guess I was too busy playing around in iTunes ( still have no idea how Ping works).

Our venue this day was the Charlottesville Pavillion.  Located at the end of Charlottesville, VA’s Pedestrian Mall, it’s a relatively small space for the noise that was scheduled.  It was exactly the kind of place you want to see a band like The Avett Brothers. Before we get too far, if you have tickets to the Charlottesville Pavillion + the ability to make a day out of it + the weather’s cooperation, we strongly endorse taking advantage of Charlottesville, her bars, restaurants and refreshments. I never got her name, but the outdoor waitress at Miller’s on Sunday was phenomenal. We tipped like we were dying.

Ahead of our refreshments, we ventured to the venue to check out the lay of the land.  And what to our happy ears should we hear?  “Sounds like soundcheck,” said I.  Certainly someone will ask us to move on.  No loitering during soundcheck, right? Pay your money to listen to the music.

Or not.  So there we were, early Sunday afternoon, six concertgoers watching The Avett Brothers perfect the acoustics. Soundcheck highlights were Seth Avett’s piano-focused Lean On Me and Joe Kwon prepping the cello to the best parts of Crazy Train.

Once we finally made it through our day and onto the show, the good times continued. Grace Potter shined, literally, and did what any good opener should. Whether you loved it or not, they made the crowd pay attention and take notice. Job well done, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals.

Starr Hill Brewery’s Jomo Lager and a nice big bag o’ kettle corn were so gracious to keep us company between sets.  Getting settled into a General Admission space is an exercise worth mentioning. It’s not a perfect science, but we managed to do pretty damn well.  Center stage, 70 or 80 feet back from the stage. Finally the house lights dimmed, stage lights went red and Seth, Scott, Bob and Joe took the stage (yay, monosyllabism!). An enthusiastic And It Spread set the tone and off we went. 

A quick word on the crowd. Avett Brothers’ fans love them some singin’ along. No doubt. You’ll hear some of it in the videos. It’s kind of unfortunate for some because their own voices might muffle Scott and Seth Avett’s vocals . . . and those were definitely worth hearing. It happens at every concert. It’s like traffic and bad weather . . . you just have to expect it at some point and make the best of it . . . but it’s still incredibly annoying.  There’s always someone that wants EVERYONE to know that THEY know ALL of the words. Got it. Check mark to the guy obnoxiously screaming the words. He’s obviously a fan. Now that we’re all clearly proven inferior to your lyrical knowledge, please shut the fuck up.

Oh – but if you sing along quietly to yourself, I have no gripe.  Continue bothering no one and enjoying the show. <jumps down off soapbox>

There were a couple of nice covers throughout the show and we got one early.  The boys did the Blue Ridge RangersBlue Ridge Mountain Blues with a slowed-down, more deliberate pace. Here’s a nice video of their performance earlier in the week.

The show as a whole could be summed up with “Energy, energy, energy.” Other highlights from the setlist included Shame, Yardsale, Tin Man, Distraction #74, I Killed Sally’s Lover and Kick Drum Heart. All in all?  These guys are certainly worth seeing as many times as you can afford.

We found some decent videos from the actual show.  Salina was early in the night and shows off the live force they’re capable of, complete with an impressive string outro.

My favorite cover of the evening was this next one.  Greensboro Woman had already been introduced by the band before the video starts, but know that I gave a very audible shout / manly scream at this Townes Van Zandt introduction. Part of the excitement came from having already heard a portion during soundcheck and assuming it wouldn’t be making a return trip to the stage. Pleasant. Surprise.

Two of my favorite performances of the night were the solo performances by Seth and Scott.  It’s a very cool and unique thing when a crowded and active stage is emptied leaving one man, an instrument and a spotlight to continue things. For that reason (in addition to the songs being incredible), The Ballad of Love and Hate (Seth) and Murder in the City (Scott) stuck out.

The songs are great, the band can absolutely play (we didn’t even mention how sick Bob Crawford is on all types of bass geetars and strang’d instruments but we should because he is a strong-handed freak) and the brothers can sing. All these things combined for an extremely enjoyable night of music.  And the Jomo never hurts either.

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