Concert Review: Avett Brothers @ Fredrick Meijer Garden
I’ve seen the Avett Brothers once, and now I’ve seen them twice – but I won’t stop at three, or four, or five. I’ll return time and time again to witness the passion and energy that never fails to leave Scott Avett dripping with sweat by the end of the show.
They just do not hold back anything at all. They played to a small crowd the first time I saw them, and to a lawn-chair-toting, middle-aged crowd at Frederick Meijer Garden last Thursday evening in Grand Rapids, but they compromised none of their soulful intensity. Nine strings were broken and they had us in the front row looking for a wayward bolt that had sprung from their cymbals. These moments of instrument failure afford opportunities of glorious improv when the band keeps the beat going and the audience contributes clapping to buy time for Scott Avett to trade his banjo for a restrung one. Seth Avett merely says to all this, “We could just get new instruments, [but these work just fine.]“ So instead of new instruments, a mysterious man sits on stage equipped with spares and tools to keep the show going. With their much anticipated release of their forthcoming album, I and Love and You, on September 29, the show was a winning mix of their older super energetic songs and their eyes-closed, hips-swaying, mature endeavors.
They left us with a smashingly rowdy encore (which they always do) played with a chemistry between the four that is a testament to a line in Murder in the City, “Always remember there is nothing worth sharing than the love that let us share our name.” That song is still stuck in my wee brain, and I’m still jealous of the baby next to me they all waved to. He just isn’t old enough to appreciate a gesture like that.
In the three hour drive it took me to get home after the show, I could not listen to any music for fear of tainting the experience that is a live Avett Brothers show.
So don’t miss their FREE show at the upcoming CityFest on Thursday July 2nd at 9pm in Detroit’s New Center Area.
Show recap by Angela Pham
Photography by Curtis McGuire