Spring 2009 – friend of mine introduced me to the Avett Brothers. We were riding in her car and had the top town, and she started playing the album Emotionalism. I was immediately hooked and listened to the album on repeat. I was admittedly behind the times, but I was hooked.
Fall 2009 – I had the pleasure of seeing them in concert for the first time. It was at the Lyric in Oxford, and it was the Tuesday before Ole Miss would get embarrassed by South Carolina on national TV. It was a great show, though Scott was sick and Oxford crowds are typically terrible (bad energy, horrible concert etiquette, and a lot of times people just don’t go) but it was a great time. Right after that show, they got “big.” A lot of people get mad when their favorite band blows up, but I think that’s ridiculous. I want everyone to hear their music.
Between the first time I saw them and October 14, 2011, I had bought tickets to THREE Avett Brothers shows and had to miss them for various reasons, and the show Friday wasn’t looking like it was going to happen until 2 weeks ago when my friend Austin called and said he was off work that weekend and asked if I wanted to go, so I made the drive from Jackson to Dallas. Man, was it worth it…
The opening band was The David Mayfield Parade, and they were incredible. Very good energy and it didn’t hurt that the bassist a. played the stand up bass and b. was absolutely gorgeous. I bought their self-titled album on iTunes. It’s very well worth it, but especially the songs “I Just Might Pray” and “I Have Been Known to be Wrong From Time to Time But I’m Afraid I’m Right.” They just had an incredible energy about them and David Mayfield himself was hilarious.
Then came the Avett Brothers. They opened with “The Once and Future Carpenter,” which is a currently unreleased song but it’s relatively new, so hopefully it will be on the new album, whenever it happens. It’s the song that contains the line at the top of this blog, “if I live the life I’m given, I won’t be scared to die.” Anyway, they played almost all of my favorite songs – “Carpenter”, “Shame”, “Go To Sleep”, “Down With the Shine”, and “In The Curve” (which was especially surprising because it’s a fairly rare song I think), among many others. They played for a while, which was great. The crowd energy was phenomenal, and it felt nice to be at a show where I felt like the people around me didn’t think the band was rude for trying to play over their phone conversation.
The coolest moment by far, though, was close to the end. They brought out a different kind of mic and Seth and Scott stood around it and unplugged their guitar and banjo and sang “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” and “Ten Thousand Words.” It somehow made the huge crowd seem very intimate and very, very special when, at the end of “Ten Thousand Words,” they stepped away from the mic and let the crowd sing the chorus a few times. It was unbelievable and very surreal.
The Avett Brothers have been my favorite band since I was introduced to them, and Friday night did nothing but bolster that view. I’ve seen some good shows lately, but this one by far blew it away. They left out a few songs I wanted to hear, but I’m sure they had to save some for Saturday night because they played at the same place the next night.
It was an incredible night all around.