The Avett Brothers in Chicago

The Avett Brothers
House of Blues – Chicago, IL

“In terms of the actual show it will still be a raucous high energy show. Everyone’s ready to give it their all.” – Joe Kwan, in my recent interview with The Avett Brothers.

Bursting onto the scene, The Avett Brothers did not disappoint their friends, family and fans that packed the three levels of the House of Blues. The show was sold out, but people were still asking for tickets in the line that spanned a full block just before the doors opened. The high energy show pumped-up the House of Blues crowd so much, the band could barely start their next song. Fans shouting out what song they hope will be played next, anxious and knowing their next song will be just as great as the next.

For some reason, there was a rediculous amount of heat at the venue which caused their instruments to lose their tuning between songs. Seth Avett performed a new song solo, just his guitar and voice, but had to stop to re-tune the guitar several times throughout the brief song. Brother Scott Avett broke so many banjo strings he literally did not play through a single song with just one banjo, oftentimes leaving the stage to switch from the backups they brought “just in case.” He broke the most banjos during the song “Kick Drum Heart”, probably breaking several world records for banjo breaking. The band recovered well, and I don’t think the audience cared too much. As long as they didn’t stop the show, we were more than okay dealing with a banjo change or three.

The Avett Brothers brought very folk values of family and honesty to the Chicago scene.

In my interview with band member Joe Kwan, he mentioned the folk group loved to come through the city of Chicago and not just for the food. little did we know, The Avett Brothers have a lot of family throughout the city and suburbs, and many were in attendance that night singing every word to every song from their most recent album I and love and You, which was released in September of 2009. Since it’s release it has peaked at #16 on the Billboard Top 200 and scored the #1 spot in folk albums. Seth and Scott Avett even brought a member of the family (cousin Gina) on stage to play drums for a song or two. She was sent off with some of the loudest applause for the entire night topped only by the applause before and after the encore performance we were treated to.

Their truly honest lyrics and values are more than present in their most recent albums from Emotionalism, released in 2007, and on.

Thankfully, the show was filled with songs from a wide range of their discography, spanning as far back as their 2003 record “A Carolina Jubilee” to their most recent, released late last year. I know that most bands want to premier their new works in the hopes that it will be the best material they have. However, The Avett Brothers revitalized their old work with new instruments and the energy of the Chicago scene to show off some of the older work they are still proud of. There really isn’t an album of theirs that is terrible. They are pretty folk-like, and some of their albums can cross a bit too far into country territory for me, but the band maintains its honesty in lyrics and the music is right where you want it to be. Each album gets a chance to express itself a little differently, drawing from real life experiences.

When The Avett Brothers tour through Chicago again, be sure not to miss it. Their sound is constantly evolving and their live shows are not to be missed!

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