Majesty, introspect and foot-stomping good times. All were on display as the Avett Brothers performed before a Landmark Theatre packed to its gilded ceiling on July 7.
For two solid hours, the brothers Avett from Mount Pleasant, North Carolina, and their fellow bandmates, exhibited a true appreciation for their audience and exceptional musicianship. A special award should be given to the Avett Brothers‘ road crew for the sheer athleticism required in all the instrument changes throughout the show.
The Avetts’ Appalachian roots are always on display, as evidenced by Scott Avett’s ever-present banjo. However, the band’s sound has evolved since its early millennium beginnings to include elements of punk, rock, soul and pop. This is a band of extreme musical talent, able to jump among genres without losing its core appeal; this is a band finally getting deserved recognition.
The recently released True Sadness, the Avetts’ ninth studio album, topped the Billboard charts in four separate categories last week (Americana/Folk Albums, Top Rock Albums, Alternative Albums and Top Album Sales). The near sold-out crowd assembled at the Landmark that Thursday evening had obviously done its homework, singing along to the new songs as if they were old friends.
Throughout the night, fans sang and danced and remained respectfully quiet at the appropriate times — and the respect was mutual. Several times Scott Avett expressed his thanks for being allowed to perform.
The crowd rose to its feet early during a raucous version of the band’s latest single “Ain’t No Man” and stayed that way until the final note of the night. Seth Avett brought down the house with a stirring solo take on “Souls Like the Wheels.”
While the brothers stood front and center directing the ensemble, it was impossible to miss the whirling dervishes located stage left. Tania Elizabeth and Joe Kwon won the night, proving highly entertaining while shredding their bows on violin and cello respectively.
The Avett Brothers have traveled a long way from their debut as an unknown Appalachian folk band to one selling out theaters and sheds across the country. The growth within the band has coincided with the growth in its sound; yet it is a sound that is still unmistakably the Avetts.
The band has made its way west on this tour, but will return to New York on Aug. 13 for a date at the Amphitheater at Coney Island.
Setlist: The D Bag Rag, Down With The Shine, Talk On Indolence, Ain’t No Man, Through My Prayers, Distraction #74, Salina, Victims Of Life, Will You Return?, February Seven, Smithsonian, Swept Away, True Sadness, The Perfect Space, I Killed Sally’s Lover, Murder in the City, Souls Like The Wheels, Die Die Die, Shame, Live And Die, Laundry Room, Satan Pulls the Strings, No Hard Feelings
Encore: You Are Mine, Stay a Little Longer, Head Full Of Doubt / Road Full Of Promise