Beak and Skiff kicked off their Summer Concert Series this past weekend with a pair of sold-out performances by The Avett Brothers on Friday May 19 and Saturday May 20.
The Avett Brothers hail from Concord, NC and consist of brothers Scott (vocals, banjo, guitar, piano and Seth Avett (vocals, guitar, piano) along with Bob Crawford (bass, double bass, violin), Mike Marsh (drums), Joe Kwon (cello), Bonnie Avett-Rini (piano) and Tania Elizabeth (fiddle). The band have built a devoted fan base with over two decades of touring, and more than ten studio albums.
While the weather could not have been more perfect during the day on Friday, as show time approached wind gusts and rainclouds moved over the venue. This did not dampen the spirts of thousands of concert goers as the early arriving sold-out crowd packed the standing area in front of the stage, while more fans spread lawn chairs out across the field. At 7:15, Scott Avett led the band to the stage and was greeting with a thunderous ovation.
The band jumped right into “Laundry Room”, a stand out track from 2009’s I and Love and You. Scott and Seth dazzled the crowd with their harmonious vocals. “Stop your parent’s car, I just saw a shooting star,” Scott sang, to another loud ovation from the crowd, as the song exploded with energy. Next was the folk classic “Old Joe Clark”, which built off the already existing energy. Each band member took their turn displaying their talents, and the song broke into instrumental duals between the various members. Scott and Seth took turns wandering to the front of the stage, and onto the speaker cabinets to further excite the crowd. The remainder of the evening featured several stand out songs from the band’s catalog, including “Headful of Doubt,” “Murder in the City,” and “I and Love and You”.
Night two began in similar fashion, albeit with heavier rains and cooler temperatures. The weather appeared to be clearing as show time approached, however heavy showers again moved in at showtime. The band took the stage armed with kazoos and immediately jumped into the upbeat instrumental piece “The D Bag Rag”. Next was “Talk on Indolence,” a track which dated back to the band’s early blue grass days. Brothers Scott and Seth hopped about the stage and the crowd, who at this point had forgotten about the heavy rains, danced along with them.
The band would roll through over two hours of career spanning tracks, and even included the Doc Watson Family cover, “Groundhog.” As the set came to a close, the band performed the upbeat “Ain’t No Man.” The song featured both brothers taking turns on vocals, as they strutted and danced about the stage. The audience’s pleas for an encore were honored by the band, who returned to perform four more songs. The band would close two days of stellar performances with “No Hard Feelings,” a heavy and emotional track about staying free from harboring enemies, sharing love and ultimately about accepting death.
In all, the Avett Brothers delivered two nights of incredible performances at Beak and Skiff, featuring unique set lists, with over forty different songs played. Despite the weather, it was truly a special start to the summer concert season.
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