The wife and I had the great pleasure of seeing The Avett Brothers perform live at Cain’s Ballroom this past weekend. We were both truly blown away. I would feel cheap giving the concert some sort of grade on how good or bad the concert was. It’s a such a subjective thing, that is completely relative to the individual attendee. Not to mention there are many variables outside of the artists control at each and every different show. But I’m going to give you all several reasons that I think you should attend the next Avett Brothers show that comes to your city.
1. They draw great crowds. With the exception of one song, the audience was enthusiastically engaged and attentive to what the band was doing on stage. Which isn’t all that out of the ordinary, but with the band playing 9 songs from their record that hadn’t even been released yet, I felt like that was pretty great. And this was one of the first shows in a long time that I didn’t have any drunk guys flailing all about right next to me.
2. They bring more energy to the stage than any other band that can fit inside the folk genre. I’ve seen anyone go crazy and yell and scream while playing the banjo. I’ve never seen anyone play the cello standing up. Not only standing up but Kwon was actually jumping around on stage while playing. And I love that while playing his guitar, Seth has a hi-hat at his feet and Scott has a kick-drum that he plays along with his banjo. It just creates something really special.
3. And finally these guys know how to draw you in. Each song, no matter the tempo, was very personal and intimate. Numerous times they took that risk and were very vulnerable and would slow things down and just stand up there all alone. Just a guy, a guitar, and his words. It’s much easier to hide behind a lot of noise, but these guys didn’t shy away from being real and trying to connect with the crowd. I love that their words are, more often than not, the primary feature of their songs. And boy do they have a way with words.
The hard thing about seeing a band you love, is that it is nearly impossible not to leave disappointed. I could’ve spent the rest of my weekend dwelling on all the songs that I wish they would’ve played. And even with them playing 20+ songs, there were still several that I would’ve loved to hear. But what they did was pretty special, and I am just grateful to be a part of it. Some personal highlights of the night: They got the whole crowd in a sing-a-long at the end of “Go to Sleep” while they jammed for a while. That was pretty great. I loved it how they played “Kick Drum Heart” off of the new record that hadn’t been released yet, but the whole crowd created their own stomping part to the chorus. And then the greatest moment of the night for me, was when Scott came out for the beginning of the encore by himself and played “Murder in the City.” I think that is easily the most beautifully written song, lyrically of this past decade. But what I really loved about the performance was how he changed the last verse of the song to “Let my daughter know I love her, Make sure her mother knows the same, Always remember there is nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.” It was awesome and almost brought tears to my eyes. So that glimpse of why I am putting them high up on my list of “artists to see.”
The new album, I and Love and You, came out yesterday on Columbia records. I love it. I suggest you go out and get it.
Here is a video of a “Tiny Desk Concert” that they did for NPR a couple of months ago, to give a small glimpse into their live performance.
I also think it’s worth mentioning that Samantha Crain & the Midnight Shivers opened up the night with a pretty stellar performance. I’ve put their debut album, Songs in the Night, on several times over the past several months and enjoyed it every time. They have a pretty great sound and I was really impressed how together they sounded live, for how young of a band they are. Crain’s voice was awesome and she had a really great stage presence. They captured the attention of probably have of the people that were there, which I think is very hard to do as an opener. I think that Sam Crain is a name that you’ll continue to hear for many years to come.
Vampire Weekend has recently disclosed some details about their forthcoming album, Contra. You may have actually seen this preppy blonde photo floating around the blogosphere as of late, not knowing what it was. Or not. Either way, it will be the cover art for the new record which will be released on Jan. 12th through XL. Along with the cover art, the band has also released the tracklist. The one song on there that might actually mean something to any of you would “White Sky”, which they first unveiled live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Although it according to what frontman Ezra Koenig told Entertainment Weekly, it might sound quite a bit different. “The recorded version is very different from how we played it on Fallon,” said Koenig. “The real version is more like how we’ve been playing it live. There’s a lot of synth sounds, and it’s a little more pumped up.” No music has been shared with us yet, but I’ll fill you in once I get the chance to hear it. Here is the tracklist and a couple of Canadian tour dates coming up.
2. White Sky
4. California English
5. Taxi Cab
8. Giving Up the Gun
9. Diplomat’s Son
10. I Think Ur A Contra
October Canadian Dates
10-06 Montreal, Quebec – Le National
10-08 Toronto, Ontario – Horseshoe Tavern
I’ve been a huge fan of Flight of the Conchords since before their debut in American television, so when the duo let word of 3 songs being published to Rock Band slip, I jumped for joy. Mainly because I love FotC, but also because I love Rock Band.
Now the actual tracks have not been disclosed, but I’ve got more than my fare share of favorites I’d like to see included.
My Top 3 Tracks I’d Like To See Included In Rock Band
The news came from an Emmy Awards red carpet interview with New Zealand’s third most popular folk comedy band. The best part of the entire interview was when Bret realized that their interview is made smaller onscreen as someone more famous than them enters the red carpet.
The duo also has their new album releasing on October 20th, featuring many of the songs from their second season on HBO. With so many promising songs from the season, like Hurt Feelings, Sugalumps, Demon Woman, or my own favorite Fashion is Danger, this album will be stellar.
One of my current favorite musical outfits, The Avett Brothers are releasing their sixth studio LP next week. I and Love and You comes out this Tuesday on Sony Records. They have been releasing a series of documentary shorts for each track on the album leading up the release date. I had really been enjoying watching them and I apologize for waiting so long til I shared them with you. But, as I often find myself saying, “better late than never.” So check out the first one here and I have links below to the rest of the ones that have been released thus far.
But I have even more exciting news than those little videos. For a limited time I and Love and You will be streaming for free on NPR. I’ve listened to it a couple times now and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I’m a little upset that there seems to be less banjo. And I was hoping to find some more of the high energy stuff that permeated through their early records. But like its predecessor, Emotionalism, the album is filled with a lot more intimate and fairly subtle ballads. But it is a gorgeous record that won’t disappoint. And that is why I am absolutely thrilled that I get to go see them perform tonight at the Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, OK. If you live in the area you should absolutely come out and join me. I’ve heard through the grapevine that they are absolutely brilliant live. So go listen to the new album right now. And I’ll report back on their performance soon.