16 June 2009

Avett Brothers @ Water Street Music Hall

Determined not to miss yet another chance to see the Avett Brothers, I jumped off the jazz train just as it was picking up a full head of steam, and switched gears entirely with some hard-rockin' bluegrass. Hard rockin'? Yep, not to mention head bangin', floor shakin', roof rattlin', knee bucklin' and smile inducin'. They raced through a fairly quick 80 minute or so set. The quality was high and consistent, and my dogs were screaming, so the brevity was excused.

These brothers plus 2 aren't the greatest musicians technically that you will see (if they are they don't show it), there is a rough and tumble rawness to their playing. But, they write some of the finest tunes being written today, and play them with reckless abandon, much to the delight of the rowdy crowd.

Coming from the throngs of dedicated jazz heads, hushed with their attentive but critical ear, this crowd was a full 180, with the only thing connecting the two a voracious appetite for live music. I had no idea Avett Brothers had such a rabid following. With their individually numbered Team Avett shirts, Avett Nation banner hanging high, floorboard-buckling jump dancing, and singing every word to every song at the top of their lungs (with the exception of most of the few new numbers played), this crowd was extremely into the band... and young as hell. I don't claim to know what the kids are into these days, but I had no idea it would be this.

Local americana rock act Auld Lang Syne opened things up. They had me at hello, and kind of lost me by good-bye. Seemed like they were doing something different with an accordian and french horn meeting up with the usual guitars and drums, but it ended up sounding like many other things I have heard and generally been indifferent to.

Also made it to Abilene before the show for the Hypnotic Clambake clambake. Wonder how many times someone's thought to pair those two things together? The burgers were cold but the music was hot (these guys know how to include an accordian into the mix), great start to the evening and Abilene continues to be one of the best spots for a beer and free music in the city. Don't shy away from the Porkslap Pale Ale...

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