Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Avett Brothers. Tivoli Utrecht, 22 August 2013

An evening of ballads of love. And maybe half a one of hate.

Last time I got to see the Avett Brothers play in Amsterdam was at the Paradiso following the release of their previous album “I and Love and You”. The show was amazing (see JV’s Top 5 Shows of 2011) and they nailed every one of the songs, however the energy from the band wasn’t always evident.

The most memorable event on the night was when a fight broke out on the main floor during the title song “I and Love and You”. This was something that I had never witnessed in the 100 odd shows that I have seen at the venue. My other memory of the show was the fact they the band didn’t play their song “The Ballard of Love and Hate”. And while normally when a band doesn’t play one of the songs that you really wanted to hear you could be disappointed, this time it just made me really want to see them again sometime soon.

So in 2013 when a tour of Europe was announced I jumped at the chance to buy tickets to see these guys again and this made it one of my most anticipated shows of the year. And I am pleased to report, they did not disappoint!

When these guys play live they are tight. So tight in fact it you would think they really are brothers. Okay, so technically two of them are brothers and clearly they have a fantastic click with each other, but the other band members are also incredible and are clearly part of an extended brotherhood.

From the first moment when they took to the stage, their energy level compared with last time was significantly greater and where last time they were all wearing suits, this time was t-shirts and jeans and funky hats. They were clearly there to have some fun.

So it was an evening of folky harmony, banjo “esk” fun with a fare smattering of split harmony action that spanned all of there albums including the new soon to be released one. But what took me a little by surprise, and perhaps this is where the additional energy feel came from, is that this show seemed much more 'rocky' than the previous. There was a lot more full band action, electric guitars and general power than I was expecting. And all in a good way!

My favourite track from the evening, and there were many, would have to be Seth Avett’s version of my previously missed “The Ballad of Love and Hate”. It was performed with aplomb and most of the crowd may have even decided to be quiet enough to pay this song the particular respect it duly deserved.

I couldn’t fault the band one bit, they came to town, they satisfied the crowd. It wasn’t a sell out show but there was a good number of people there on the night, including our group of at least 8, and I think we would have made the band proud. When I listen to their old live shows they play fun tracks and have plenty of people drinking beers in the crowd bantering with them and that’s how I remember this show, just hanging out with mates.

The only disappointment of the evening was when one of our mates decided that the beer that we had bought him wasn’t up to his lofty standards and proceeded to look a gift horse in the mouth. Now that is nearly worth starting a fight on the main floor of the venue…..maybe that’s what happened back at Paradiso a couple of years ago?


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