The Avett Brothers | 08.09.07 | SF, CA

Words by: Kayceman :: Images by: Crackerfarm

The Avett Brothers :: 08.09.07 :: Slim's :: San Francisco, CA

The Avett Brothers
Country music wasn't always the glossy, paltry crap currently pouring out of Nashville. Just look at Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, those guys were punk as hell. The history of America's folk, bluegrass and roots traditions is filled with bad ass characters like Woodie Guthrie, Bill Monroe and Gram Parsons - crusty independents who went against the grain and often broke convention. They weren't worried about following a certain path or sound. Instead, they busted off the map and plowed headfirst into the unknown.

In 2007 we have our own cast of outlaw musicians, people like Jack White, who ditched Detroit and is currently paving the streets of Nashville with gritty rock & roll, and The Avett Brothers from Greenville, North Carolina. While they play almost exclusively acoustic instruments, brothers Scott (banjo, vocals) and Seth (guitar, vocals) Avett along with Bob Crawford (upright bass, vocals) are taking strains of old time music and delivering them with the passion and urgency of punk. It's head-banging rock & roll played with a banjo. Moonshine country. Amphetamine folk. There may not be a single perfect name or genre that wraps up The Avett Brothers but this didn't seem to matter to the packed house at Slim's in San Francisco.

Scott Avett
Kicking things off with "The Weight of Lies," one of the standout tracks from their stellar 2007 release Emotionalism, The Avett Brothers showed off their soaring harmonies before kicking up their heels and thrashing about the stage as Scott climbed the monitor and Seth turned evil, screaming into his mic. Throughout the band's 21-song set they consistently walked this fine line of delicate beauty and ragged enthusiasm. Tracks like "Shame" and "Die Die Die" (which featured Scott on drums) would start slow with a haunting melody only to build into anthemic foot-stomping hoedowns.

Following a blur of broken strings, rapid-fire rhythms and a run through "Wanted Man," which they learned from Doc Watson, the Avetts brought up touring member Joe Kwon on cello. The ensuing song, "If It's The Beaches" was a clear highlight with Kwon and Crawford using their bows, hushing the crowd and carrying the melody high above our heads.

As the night neared its end, the Avetts busted out "Colorshow," which could very easily serve as their theme song. As the brothers screamed, "Be loud let your colors show!" the crowd pulled closer, hooting and hollering on call.

After a beautiful rendition of "Will You Return," Langhorne Slim (who opened the show) drummer Malachi DeLorenzo joined the fray for a frantic set ending rocker that found Seth on the drum riser and Scott taking a banjo solo as he fell to the stage. After a short break, they returned with electric guitars for a fully equipped, blowout version of "Pretty Girl From Chili."

From slow burning ballads and acoustic finger-picking to aggressive solos and blood-curdling screams, The Avett Brothers filled every moment of every song with pure, un-inhibited passion; or as they like to say, Emotionalism.

JamBase | California
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[Published on: 8/31/07]

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rabbitsfoot starstarstarstarstar Mon 9/3/2007 09:47AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


now that these guys are getting publicity. they're still not becoming a huge break through band. that's great. i really don't care how many people dig em. i always have and always will. great band. if you can watch an entire show w/ these guys and not stomp your foot at least once or twice, then there is something seriously wrong w/ you.

johnnygoff starstarstarstar Wed 9/5/2007 02:02PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


The Avett Bros are big where they're supposed to be and that's on the bluegrass circuit. There is def. a buzz about these guys and I've heard from some friends in the Greenville, NC area that the people down there, even the old-school "pickers-n-grinners" like these boys. Nice piece Kayce. Love that shot Cracker of the "floor-strummin" w/ the banjo...(there is a trend though on jambase lately....tons of comments on electronica/dub stuff and there's tumbleweeds on the bluegrass stuff IMHO)

overall Wed 9/5/2007 06:02PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I've been lucky enough to sign these guys for two of their five NC shows this year. Loved 'em both times. And they're completely humble and unassuming, too.

But in my opinion, the coolest thing isn't the music, and it's not their behavior or attitude. It's the fact that they attract an unbelievably diverse audience that all get along.

At Panic and DMB shows, there's obvious animosity between frat boys and hippies. And at Phil or Ratdog shows, there's an undercurrent of distrust at play between old school heads and trustifarians. But everybody gets along at Avett Brothers' shows.

These guys make Sorority Sues swoon, Coachella kids mosh, and country bumpkins bounce in their boots all at the same time. And everybody smiles the whole night.

They're talented and original, which is great for audiences. And they draw from every demographic, which is great for promoters. But best of all, they exhude a sense of inclusiveness that's simply infectious. And that's extremely cool.

aburtch starstarstarstarstar Fri 9/7/2007 10:50AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Just reading the review gives me goosebumps. The Avett Brothers put on the best live show out there, high energy, great songwriting, and a night you won't forget. The great thing about them is their unique style. No one sounds like them. It's great to see a genre-busting act storm the gates. These guys will do great. If anyone hasn't checked out their new album "Emotionalism" be sure to do so...great songwriting abounds. Thanks Kayceman for keeping these guys on the Jambase radar.