Words by: Kayceman :: Images by: Crackerfarm
The Avett Brothers :: 08.09.07 :: Slim's :: San Francisco, CA
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.
| The Avett Brothers|
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.
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.
| Scott Avett|
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.
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