Frontier Psychiatrist

Good Carpenters: The Avett Brothers Live in Atlanta

Posted on: September 27, 2012

Avett Brothers, The Carpenter

The Avett Brothers, The Carpenter

Last weekend, the newly relaunched Music Midtown festival brought a host of national acts to Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. The headliners were the Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam–and other acts included Florence and the Machine, Van Hunt, and 80’s revivals Adam Ant and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts–but I had gone to see The Avett Brothers. I wasn’t the only one. During T.I.’s set on the main stage, a formidable crowd swarmed the second stage to wait for the Avetts. When the band came on, the fans exploded in a frenzy of dancing, singing, and shouting that continued throughout the set, which drew from the band’s seven studio records, with a heavy emphasis on songs from their new album The Carpenter, released on Sept. 11. Clearly, the Avett Brothers are not a band that became successful overnight; they have slowly grown their dedicated fanbase over the course of a decade. At Friday’s show Seth Avett said that they’ve been playing in Atlanta for so long that it feels like a hometown show. (The band is actually from North Carolina).

Highlights of the 90-minute set included “Laundry Room,” “January Wedding,” “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise,” and “Kick Drum Heart,” all from their breakthrough 2009 album I And Love And You which was produced by Rick Rubin. Other standouts included a cover of David Childers’s “The Prettiest Thing,” “Paranoia in B-flat Major” from 2007’s Emotionalism, and the songs off the new album, “Paul Newman vs. the Demons,” “February Seven,” “Down With the Shine,” “Live and Die,” and “Winter in My Heart.” The set ended with a two song encore, starting with just Seth and Scott on the stage performing “Murder in the City” while sharing a single microphone and spotlight, and ending with a raucous performance of “Talk on Indolence” by the entire band.

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Although the Avetts drew heavily from their recently released album, that didn’t stop thousands of people from singing along. Though The Carpenter may seem more toned down in comparison to their prior material, it’s just as catchy. (Surely the band must have been joking when they told Rolling Stone that their new album is like Soundgarden meets Nirvana.) While The Carpenter demonstrates less range than their previous albums, it does present a polished aesthetic. Fans who feel like the Avett Brothers’ rough edges have been sanded down on it can take comfort in the fact that their live shows are as energetic as ever.

The Carpenter shows growth and maturity and has the potential to build on I and Love and You and take the Avett Brothers from their diehard cult following into more mainstream success. Case in point: The video for “Live and Die” debuted on Country Music Television, a channel  watched by both my mom and grandmother.  Whenever a band moves from relative obscurity into the mainstream, there will be those who swear by the early stuff and fall into the hipster cliche of liking the band before they were big. But just because you liked the band at the beginning doesn’t mean you can’t continue to like them now. If anything, you might appreciate them more.

Gina Myers is a staff writer and the author of A Model Year. She recently reviewed D. Nurkse’s new poetry collection A Night in Brooklyn and Gaslight Anthem’s Handwritten. She has also interviewed a series of indie authors, including James Tadd Adcox, Dan Magers, Brian Oliu, and Justin Sirois

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2 Responses to "Good Carpenters: The Avett Brothers Live in Atlanta"

“Whenever a band moves from relative obscurity into the mainstream, there will be those who swear by the early stuff and fall into the hipster cliche of liking the band before they were big. But just because you liked the band at the beginning doesn’t mean you can’t continue to like them now. If anything, you might appreciate them more.”

Well put!

[…] Myers is a staff writer and the author of A Model Year. She recently reviewed The Avett Brothers’ new album and show in Atlanta, where she lives, and D. Nurkse’s new poetry collection A Night in Brooklyn, where she used to […]

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