Arts, The Muse

Avett Brothers make the intimate enticing

One banjo, two brothers, and hundreds of plaid shirts set the scene when the Avett Brothers played to a sold-out House of Blues on Oct. 14th. Seth and Scott Avett brought their North Carolina brand of folk-rock, combining it with punk, bluegrass and pop to create an original sound that kept heads bobbing all night.

The brothers, along with bassist Bob Crawford and cellist Joe Kwon, performed in front of a New York City skyline, an ode to their most recent album I and Love and You, enveloped with red lights. The new stage arrangement was a departure from their normally sparse backdrop. The show began with the heart-warmer “Living of Love,” which set a calm and tender tone for the performance.

After covering Earl Scruggs’ “Blue Ridge Mountain Blues,” a song about growing up in the brothers’ native North Carolina, a lighting change signified a drastic shift in mood. “Colorshow” and “Distraction #74” demonstrated the band’s ability to seamlessly switch from dramatic love songs to honky tonk country-punk. In the middle of intricate harmonies, the Avett Brothers threw in screeching vocals that shook the crowd out of its reverie. During “Slight Figure of Speech,” Seth and Scott incorporated a breakdown of sorts in which they sang scat, trading off vocals almost word by word.

After a few more fast-paced songs, the accompanying band left the stage and the lighting returned to emotional(…ism). In songs such as “Pretty Girl from Michigan,” “Tin Man,” and “January Wedding” The Avett Brothers sang about what they know best: heartbreak and true love. Crowd-pleaser “Shame” from I and Love and You had the entire audience chanting along, “Shame, boatloads of shame/Day after day, more of the same.”

The rest of the band returned to finish off the set, Seth sporting a wife beater, a bowl cut, and a handlebar mustache&-much different from the full-length beard he had not six months ago. “Hard Worker” gave way to the famed “I and Love and You,” during which Scott instructed the audience to count off along with each word. “Kick Drum Heart” ended the set, displaying Joe’s signature hair toss.

Following a set that included many emotional highs and lows, the encore of “Bella Donna” and “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” left the audience with a solemn message of hope:

There’s a darkness upon me that’s flooded in light

In the fine print they tell me what’s wrong and what’s right

There’s a darkness upon me that’s flooded in light

And I’m frightened by those that don’t see it.

Comments are closed.