Arts & Entertainment, The Muse

Snow and sleet and the Avett Brothers

After a cold, wet, and snowy 25-minute walk from the GSU to the House of Blues, the warmth and soulfulness of The Avett Brothers felt like a comforting bowl of warm soup. Brothers Scott and Seth Avett, along with Bob Crowford and Joe Kwon, delivered a tight performance with just the right amount of energy and zest.

‘ ‘ ‘ One of the set’s first highlights was ‘Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise,’ from the band’s latest album, I and Love and You. Scott both played piano and sang, his stirring voice reverberating throughout the entire theater. The song was typical Avett Brothers-with dark, moving lyrics, a bellowing cello (played beautifully by Kwon), and background bass and drum parts. While Kwon and Crowford consistently play cello and bass, respectively, the Brothers themselves move between vocals, drums, acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica and piano. This rotating arrangement makes the group particularly interesting to watch, as these new formations bring continued energy and excitement to each song.

‘ ‘ ‘ Like the band itself, The Avett Brothers’ modest and understated stage offers further insight into the music. The instruments are set up in a way that allows ample room for the band members to move around but presents nice, close quarters so that the band is able to physically interact with each other as they play. The lighting is mostly yellows and reds, often dramatically focusing on the singer, which makes a huge venue like the House of Blues seem surprisingly cozy. Finally, the backdrop is art from I and Love and You-upside down teardrops painted just outside the lines in various shades of yellow and red. The atmosphere during an Avett Brothers show is unlike any other; no matter how many people are in the audience, the experience feels intimate.

‘ ‘ ‘ After playing a few of their slower hits, The Avett Brothers broke out into ‘Talk on Indolence’ from their 2006 album, Four Thieves Gone: The Robbinsville Sessions. It is almost impossible to understand what Scott is saying because of the quick tempo of the song and the passionate way in which he sings. The song demonstrates the band’s ability to energize the audience at any time; the band moves from calm to frenzied in less time than it takes to tune a guitar.

‘ ‘ ‘ Once The Avett Brothers got the audience railed up, they brought them down to a simmer. Their new single ‘I and Love and You’ did just that. The Brothers had a full House of Blues -including fraternity brothers, couples, and young professionals, chanting ‘love, love, love,’ and wishing that it was their first time falling in love.’ ‘ ‘

While the band has an uncanny ability to make an audience feel tearful and nostalgic (insert baby puppy metaphor), sometimes they become too sentimental. During ‘Left on Laura, Left on Lisa,’ again from Four Thieves, lyrics such as ‘And I gave to you my ugly brown coat/ You made it pretty when you put it on’ drew some titters from the crowd.

‘ ‘ ‘ Overall, The Avett Brothers were the perfect ending to a gloomy, snowy day. They are all versatile, enthusiastic musicians and watching them, the time flew by. While Scott and Seth (as the cutest) proved the stars of the show, Kwon played a mean cello and Crowford did the upright bass justice. The Avett Brothers’ sound – part bluegrass, part indie, with just a bit of honky-tonk -would make even the most judgmental music critic bob along. When the last few notes of’ ‘If It’s the Beaches’ (The Gleam, 2006) trailed off, the crowd seemed to groan in unison, not wanting the show to end.

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