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Concert Review: The Avett Brothers at Music Midtown in Atlanta

While Atlanta’s mid-day heat slowly faded into a lovely autumn evening at the Meadow at Piedmont Park, the Friday afternoon crowd that had gathered to hear Grammy-winning R&B artist Van Hunt, eighties rocker Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and hometown hip-hop extraordinaire T.I. easily doubled in size, just in time for the 90-minute set of North Carolina rockers, The Avett Brothers.

Fresh off of the September 11th release of their 6th full length album, The Carpenter, the brothers, their banjos, and their bassist were welcomed by the large crowd, and as often as they have played Atlanta over the last decade, its safe to assume that plenty of long-time fans were packed into the front rows. The crowd cheered as they took to the stage and began the set with a rowdy, rock rendition of the bluegrass favorite, “The Fall.”

The band has unbelievable stage presence. Scott Avett has a searing intensity whether he is ripping into the banjo, or schooling the harmonica. Joe Kwon was a mad man on the cello as his strings lit up the stage. Seth Avett bounced around as if on a pogo stick, and couldn’t shake the smile off his face if he wanted to. It was cool to watch the band dynamic unfold. The band members would play off one another, finding the rhythm and pushing the beat. The subtle interactions were a lot of fun to watch.

While I mistakenly expected a slower paced, introspective, bluegrass show, on pace with the Civil Wars performance at Beale Street, we were treated to a full on rock performance, closer to Zac Brown Band’s BamaJam show. Sure, The Avett Brothers brought us plenty of sweet, quiet moments with “Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise” and “January Wedding,” but the majority of the set list was composed of higher energy choices, perfect for keeping the attention of a festival crowd.

The band played five tracks from their new album, The Carpenter, including “Live and Die,” “Paul Newman Vs. The Demons, “Down With The Shine,” and Winter In My Heart,” as well as “February Seven.” The new material was well received, and the band seemed eager to share their latest achievement. As the minute hands moved closer to 9 pm, the band ended on “Winter In My Heart” before coming back for an encore performance of punky “Kick Drum Heart” and fan favorite “Talk On Indolence.” The crowd seemed to expect a third song in “I and Love and You,” but the band didn’t deliver. Instead of a mad pilgrimage to the Electric Ballroom Stage to snag a good spot for the Foo Fighters, the crowd mulled about for a firm “no,” on arguably The Avett Brothers most well known hit.

Throughout the set, it was deeply apparent that how much Atlanta loves the Avetts, and the feeling seems to be mutual. Scott even joked that they have spent so much time here over the last decade that they sometimes tell people that Atlanta is home. With 6 full-length albums, a couple of AMA’s, and several singles under their belt, it’s safe to say The Avett Brothers have cemented a place in the mainstream music industry.

Avett Brothers Music Midtown Setlist in Atlanta : September 21, 2012
The Fall
Will You Return
February Seven
Paul Newman Vs. The Demons
Laundry Room
January Wedding
At The Beach
Head Full Of Doubt, Road Full Of Promise
The Prettiest Thing (David Childers cover)
Down With The Shine
Distraction
Live and Die
Go To Sleep
Winter In My Heart

Encore
Kick Drum Heart
Talk On Indolence

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