The Avett Brothers Break-out
The Avett Brothers have a problem almost every struggling musician wishes they had. Quickly adjusting from the respected indie club performances of their past to the demands of a major label touring act breaking into the big time.
All the signs of the Avett Brothers breaking big were front and center for everyone to see at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison. The crazed, sold-out crowd packed tightly against the stage. Fans singing along with almost every song in the set. Their latest Rick Rubin-produced album climbing the charts. And lets not forget the amazed look on the Avett Brothers faces as they contemplated the fact that ten years of living in a van were paying off.
Their 90 minute set, heavily loaded with material from the new album "I and Love and You", set the stage for the transformation, but there were signs that the high profile grind might be catching up with them. Feeding off the crowd's nervous energy, the shows pace changed erratically, as the Avett Brothers tried to match the crowds enthusiasm, only to pause for long periods between songs to tune guitars and banjos. Hey guys, the major label gave you a tour bus and a road crew. Tune several instruments before the show and put them on stands behind you. You can afford it now. OK, enough of arena rock 101.
The versatility of the band was evident as brothers Seth and Scott Avett traded lead singing chores and instruments. During their latest single "I and Love and You", Seth manned the keyboard while Scott played drums. The power of the song live really shows a songwriting evolution that makes you want to believe these guys will be around for a long time. I'm sure Rick Rubin and Columbia records had the same feeling. Rubin's influence comes through in the new material, with less of an Appalachian folk feel and dare I say it, a more contemporary flair.
The Avett Brothers band also includes cellist Joe Kwon and bassist Bob Crawford who round out the sound in concert by complimenting Scott and Seth with an additional sonic dimension. You know, every once in a while you get to experience the excitement of a band about to break through into the mainstream. Tonight, the Avett Brothers provided that opportunity.