Not many bands can be described as combining bluegrass, country, folk, rock, honky tonk, ragtime and pop melodies, but that’s how the Avett Brothers make music. And that’s what the crowd heard when Scott, Seth and crew rolled into C-Bus this past Saturday to kick off the official outdoor summer season at the LC and to unveil their raw, melodic, and even sometimes sad compilations.
The brothers brought a high-energy show with a vintage feel. They started off with popular tunes like “Laundry Room” and “Will You Return” that set the perfect pace – light and honest.
The hit their stride with “Head Full of Doubt” and “January Wedding” which the sold-out crowd loved! As the sun set behind the show, they gathered together and belted out “I Would Be Sad.” (They mentioned their cellist, Joe Kwon, was kept around for making a mean guacamole, but the crowd seemed to know what his real craft was: passionately thrashing on his cello!)
Many tunes (such as “At the Beach”) seemed made-to-order as they perfectly encompassed the high energy and lightheartedness of a summer night of music and brotherhood. Everybody was going nuts during that summery singalong, followed later when they sent the crowd into a toe-tapping uproar with “Kick Drum Heart.”
A stripped down, three-part harmony of the old Baptist hymnal “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” (sung together over one microphone) elicited pure emotions and got a huge crowd response as hundreds of fans lazily swayed their lighters through the darkening, breezy night.
During their first encore number “Go to Sleep” they had what seemed like the entire audience belting out “La La La-da-dada-da” of the intro banjo riff sung later in the song. That was the moment when the realization struck: “Damn, these guys are HUGE!” The encore also featured a classic Dylan tune, “Man in Me”, (which you’d also know from the opening credits of the Big Lebowski!). And then – in perfect, sentimental timing, the fireworks from the nearby Clippers game exploded as the soulful, slow harmonies of “I and Love and You” soared above the crowd. (If they had thought to change the city name from ‘Brooklyn’ in that song to ‘Columbus’ they probably would have had the whole crowd lose their minds and swear a vow of eternal loyalty.) They did save their best earworm for last with “Talk on Indolence” as the banjo and the lightning-fast lyrics jangled and rattled across the lawn.
With tireless zeal (and no opening act!) they played nearly 30 songs, displaying a workman-like delivery of the night’s huge setlist. Based on the response they received from the audience on this carefree summer night, I’d say their efforts were worth it.
This review was written by Stephanie Garber and brought to you by the Franklin University Plaza at the LC Pavilion. For more information about shows that Stephanie and the Franklin crew will be attending and for chances to win tickets to concerts all year long, visit us on Facebook.