Monday, October 19, 2009

Tea and Food... and Music!

Last night I had a perfectly good Jack Daniels and club soda at the Avett Brothers show at the Boston House of Blues. If you only read food blogs, stop reading now. For the rest of you, I now present my first ever post on music.

In a nutshell, the concert was absolutely rockin'. I can't think of any other band with two leads who, when not singing and simultaneously manning the drum set, are singing, playing guitar or banjo and banging out percussion with a kick drum or high hat, the latter being alternately played by pedal and by direct kicks from the taller Avett brother's boot tip. The crowd was up on their feet for the entirety of the concert, and not just because there weren't any seats.

Nor have I seen a cellist play with such emotion that it seemed like the bow was a saw he was drawing across his own stomach. Nor have I ever heard a band make a point of saying "Thanks for inviting us back to the stage" when doing that thing that bands do and coming back on after pretending to finish.

Perhaps that gratitude was not as sincere as it seemed and was instead an example of a highly polished folksy affect. If that's the case, then I'm just as impressed with the Brothers' theater skills. They're either the nicest, most earnest band I've ever seen ("Y'alls' enthusiasm is the only reason we can stand straight right now"), or they're superb actors.

I especially recommend checking out the AB's at this catalystic point in their career. As I type, they tip, and it remains to be seen whether they'll become a full blown stadium act with indie roots, like Wilco, or an indie band that plays like they're playing for a stadium regardless of the venue. By the end of their set last night, the Avett brothers, along with the non-Avett brother Avett Brothers, were drenched with sweat, hoarse, exhausted, and, it seemed, delighted.

For the first half of the set I marveled at the manic enthusiasm they brought to the stage, but for the second half I worried about them. Can the kind of guys you'd like to bring home to meet your mother survive an increasingly stacked tour schedule and continue to belt out their anthems with the same blend of ease and energy night after night? It remains to be seen, and the shorter of the Brothers sounded like he was really straining by the end, though not remotely holding back.

Listening to their music or watching their videos alone, the Brothers' shamelessly sincere lyrics and dreamy, lingering gazes sometimes verge on awkward. Watching them do the same live, you don't care, you just stomp your foot.

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aprildawn said...

sad i missed it.

Paolo said...

It's not an act. Mania mixed with humility have defined their live show as long as I've been seeing them, starting about three years ago. My only bad experience was when the bouncer wouldn't let my friends and I offer them the strawberries we'd picked that day on the farm. "No Open Containers" is probably for the best, but it sure gets in the way of good will.

PG said...

Great post!

I am a new fan and so I can't say for sure but I have to tend to agree with Paolo. They sure as hell seem sincere.

Was a GREAT show and your point about worrying about them is dead on. I too was worrying for the fine folks of Iowa City. Hoping Scott takes care of those pipes and can give it his all again tonight.

Many longer time fans might disagree, but my only gripe is that there were 4 songs that i REALLLY wanted to hear Sunday night. I only got 1 of them.

Headful of Doubt... - check
I and Love and You - nope
Murder in the City - nope
Kickdrum Heart - nope

I am sure Wanted Man and Living in Love are fare more welcome to the seasoned fans, but oh well. Still a GREAT experience!

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Unknown said...

Amazing post so thanks for this.
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