The Avett Brothers @ Stuyvesant High School 7-9-08

11Jul08

With their blend of country music lyrics, rock melodies, and infectious aerobic energy, The Avett Brothers’ (that’s Ave-it, not Av-it) performed a lively set (should I say workout?) for a full house Wednesday night in the Stuyvesant High School Auditorium in New York City.

Impending thunderstorms moved the River To River concert from its original Rockefeller Park location to the school auditorium at the last minute. Unfortunately, the venue change meant that hundreds of people were shut out from the concert due to the limited seating, but otherwise the band did not seem phased by the fact that they were playing on the same stage that hosts the school talent show. In fact, their continuous jumping and eager playing mimicked that of school children performing in front of a large crowd for the first time.

The Avett Brothers’ show was half hoe-down jams, half country ballads. In addition to playing songs like “Will You Return?” and “Salina” from their recent album, Emotionalism, the band proudly, if not nervously, unveiled new songs from their upcoming album The Second Gleam. While Scott and Seth alternate the vocals, Scott is also the banjo master and sometime drummer. Seth takes on the guitar and high-hat drum, conveniently positioned by his microphone. The talents of the cellist, Joe Kwon, and the stand-up bass player, Bob Crawford, were not merely reserved for the slow songs, as they got in on the rock action as well.

After playing for an hour-and-a-half to the grateful, wow-can’t-believe-this-is-free crowd, mainly on its feet despite the rows of seating, Scott Avett broke out an electric guitar for the band’s encore performance of “Pretty Girl From Chile”, voicemail message and all. The Avett Brothers have no upcoming show dates in NYC, but they are definitely suited for the Music Hall of Williamsburg or Webster Hall…or the next party I throw. I swear they could get even the most stubborn wedding guest off his feet and onto the dance floor.

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