To those foreign to the band, the Avett Brothers’ sound can be seen as original enough to attract attention all the while being sufficiently universal to keep listeners from leaving their musical comfort zones. Those lucky enough to have attended the group’s performance at Metropolis this past Sunday can doubtlessly attest to the North Carolina collective’s eclectic versatility which, paired with the members’ relaxed attitudes onstage, is the recipe for one great show.
A veritable patchwork quilt of musical genres, the set included tried-and-true classics and brand-spanking new tracks from the upcoming album, Magpie and the Dandelion, set to drop Oct.15. Instead of focusing on their most recent album The Carpenter, released last fall, the group refreshingly served up a solid mix of their older material as a pleaser to more devoted fans. While their newest recordings show a noticeably tamer, more adult version of the Avett Brothers, their stage presence still sparkles with that folk-rock flair they’ve been known for since day one. Singers Seth and Scott Avett jumped from raucous chants to melodic whispers in the blink of an eye to the sounds of banjo and some great double-bass lines. These sudden changes lent the performance a certain unpredictability that kept listeners on their toes from start to finish.
Noticeably, the interactions between band members were slightly limited. Of course, the music was charming enough to keep all eyes glued onstage without the help of frequent banter, and it could be countered that this allowed for an uninterrupted flow of songs, which is after all what everyone paid for. Many slower tracks were revamped for the live-music experience, offering a more toe-tapping version of the usual ballad-style tunes, the most memorable of these being a spruced up rendition of “Kick Drum Heart”. Tastefully, some tracks were left totally unaltered such as well-known “I and Love and You”, showing that the band knows not to mess with a good thing.
Yet another addition to the overall brilliance of the night: the location. Known for its intimacy and easygoing ambiance, Metropolis was the perfect place to host the group.
A stellar roster of tracks, a vibrant crowd and –let’s not forget- a killer merch table, made for a wonderfully well-rounded show. Flaunting perfect equilibrium in just about every aspect of the performance, the Avett Brothers displayed an unrelenting knack for winning hearts all while staying true to their roots, both onstage and off.