Reviews

The Avett Brothers: 4 September 2010 - Morrison, CO

Photos: Larry Hulst

The Avett Brothers on Saturday, September 4 took control of the 9,000-capacity world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheater, and left with stars shining – both literally and figuratively.

The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers

Venue: Red Rocks Amphitheater
Date: 2010-09-04

It was in April, only five months ago that The Avett Brothers played the 1,000-capacity Boulder Theater. They easily sold out the small room, and all reviews claimed superiority. At that show, the brothers Seth and Scott brought a drummer along to fill some sound along with their quartet, which also includes bassist Bob Crawford and cellist Joe Kwon. A mere 27 miles away, the Avett Brothers on Saturday, September 4 took control of the 9,000-capacity world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheater, and left with stars shining – both literally and figuratively.

Before the release of 2009’s I and Love and You, the Avett Brothers were a relatively unknown talent from North Carolina. They were something comparable to an average-weight 15-year old attempting a cannonball off a dock in a small pond – the waves on shore were noticeable, but not distracting. It’s strange, too, because some of their best work came off of their previous albums, 2007’s Emotionalism as well as the Gleam II EP in 2008. But, when ILY hit last year, backed by Columbia/American and produced by Rick Rubin, the reaction was akin to a tidal wave for the small town boys. The album reached number 16 on the Billboard 200, and that’s not to mention the attention garnered by the title track. Only 11 months later, that wave is still worth riding, as the Avett Brothers continue to trample along.

On this particular night, The Avett Brothers opened for Gov’t Mule, and for an opening band, I’ve never seen anything like this. It was 6:30pm on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, with plenty of daylight to go. The parking lots were not bare of cars, but most of the people had gone inside the venue already, abandoning their tailgating a bit early. The Avett Brothers, now a full-time quintet including that same drummer from April, (Jacob Edwards has relieved the brothers from their duties of playing either the kick drum or the high-hat on particular songs) came on stage to screams as loud as you could imagine. The song “And It Spread” was the opener this evening, and those drums cut right through the crowd’s cheers, providing a solid back to the already sturdy front line.

There was an instant energy. It was hard not to sing along, not to dance, and for those unfamiliar, not to drop their jaws in awe. Both Scott and Seth play excellent band-leading roles: they each take equal time on lead vocals, each harmonize with the other, each shuffle around the stage to the beat of their own tunes, and each play with a fiery passion. And the others on stage aren’t so bad in the spotlight themselves. Though Edwards isn’t in the best position to take the reigns, and message boards are claiming he still needs time to settle in, it is rare for him to be caught off guard. Crawford switches between electric and upright bass with ease, never misses a note, and almost always has a smile on his face. And Kwon, cello in hand, head bangs, sings along, and at times picks his cello up so far off the ground you think he might throw it into the crowd in a fit of rock and roll induced hysteria. It really is a beautiful sight.

Each song they played was just as powerful as the last. Whether piano ballad or banjo-strummed punk-folk, their slight Southern drawl and charm shone through, as did the enthusiasm from the crowd. A Radioheadish outro after “Salina” had one new fan exclaim “Man, I am sold on these guys,” and multiple people were “shhh’d” during “January Wedding”. The breakdown to end “Laundry Room”, a carefully crafted hoe-down, started an all-out dance party in the stands. Had thunder and lightning hit at that moment, it only would have added to the electricity already at high-voltage in the crowd. It was perfect timing for the showmanship award, as the Brothers bowed slowly and walked off stage, only to be ushered quickly back for an almost unheard of opening-band encore, for which they played “Talk on Indolence”. It would prove hard for Gov’t Mule to top that one.

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less
10

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less
8

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow shines on her impressive interpretation of Fontella Bass' classic track "Rescue Me".

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow pays tribute to the classic Chicago label Chess Records on her new album Playing Chess, which was produced by Steve Greenberg, Mike Mangini, and the legendary Betty Wright. Unlike many covers records, LeGrow and her team of musicians aimed to make new artistic statements with these songs as they stripped down the arrangements to feature leaner and modern interpretations. The clean and unfussy sound allows LeGrow's superb voice to have more room to roam. Meanwhile, these classic tunes take on new life when shown through LeGrow's lens.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image