The Avett Brothers @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Having built a reputation on their sweaty and raw live marathons, Scott and Seth Avett are known for lathering their adoring fan base into a manic frenzy. Saturday's raucous performance at Turner Hall Ballroom was no exception, a blowout that left attendees extremely satisfied.
The Avett Brothers’ bombastic blend of rootsy soul, bluegrass and rock has led reviewers to brand them with terms like "grunge-grass" or "cowpunk," but an evening with The Avett Brothers, as the Turner Hall crowd learned, renders all of those semi-creative, genre-splicing labels utterly meaningless.
Boundless energy pulsed through the opening song, "Shame," from last year's stellar Emotionalism. The foursome violently pounded away at their instruments with the pure joy and aplomb of a group of teenagers who'd just formed their first band. Kick drums located at the front of the stage replicated some of the authoritative thump present in the band's studio work. Standouts "Die, Die, Die" and "Pretty Girl From Chile" established a fevered intensity, shifting from playful calypso to frantic trilling as the crowd bounced along, erupting each time Scott and Seth Avett's desperate twin wails locked into harmony.
“Murdered in the City," a duet from the forthcoming EP The Second Gleam, and the melancholy ballad "If It's The Beaches" proved the band equally as adept at delivering lonesome introspection as they are rhythmic, acoustic stompers. Credit belongs to cellist Joe Kwon for much of that versatility. He added delicate touches to the more restrained selections while elsewhere providing a warm, resonant balance beneath the din of banjo and guitar.
The rollicking "Go To Sleep" found the audience loudly voicing their appreciation and continuing the song's "la la la la la la" refrain until the band do-si-doed back to the stage to complete the song in the encore. A slow take on the first verse of "Talk On Indolence," with all of the album version's punk edge smoothed over, bled into the boisterous closer "Will You Return?" If the final song's title was a question to the audience about their future intentions, then the response was an unequivocal yes. Judging by the sheer delight of the crowd—one of the liveliest and most adoring since Turner Hall opened as a concert venue—these loyal followers will undoubtedly return for more.