Monday, April 21, 2008

Photos: The Avett Brothers / Paleface / Christopher Denny (Variety Playhouse 4/19/08)

Apologies for some of these being chopped off at the right. Attempting to correct it.

Christopher Denny & the Old Souls:
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Paleface (and Mo):
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(Read the review I wrote of their most recent release, A Different Story, here.)

The Avett Brothers: (sorry so blurry)
Scott appears alone. The Variety Playhouse is packed. We've been cheering in anticipation. It's loud and then hushed as he begins to play.
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Seth joins.
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Bob emerges to much applause. He makes what I've come recognize as his "bass face," half concentration, half confidence.
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Joe Kwon rounds out the touring group on cello.
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We are hyperventilating. This is how they thrash.
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And this.
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These are blurry because I have a substandard camera, but also because they don't quit moving ever.
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Sometimes Seth sits down at the piano. Sometimes Scott plays the drums.
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Paleface comes back on stage at the Avetts' invitation to help them perform "Go To Sleep."
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They are kinetic. Scott's sweat is showering the first few rows, his hair flying it in great arcs vertically in front of him. Seth's knees fly high, their boots pounding the innocent, unsuspecting stage, suddenly enduring their unprompted punishment. Joe's cello actually touches the ground for a much smaller portion of the time than would be expected. He picks it up and plays it sideways like a ukulele.
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Scott's broken two strings at this point, Seth one, by my count. They've played lots that I know, lots that I don't: "Paranoia in B-flat Major" (which they allowed the audience to sing a lot of, namely the part that goes "But if love is a game, girl then you're gonna win, I'd spend the rest of my life bringing victory in if you want me to!" and then the end where they duet in high falsetto...which is terribly comical when attempted by a choir of thousands of extremely un-trained fan-types), "Salina," "When I Drink," "The Weight of Lies," "Die Die Die," and more. "Go To Sleep" is their finale, the final "la la, la la la la" chorus answered by the audience repetitively. They take their bows one by one and leave the stage, the crowd still clapping in time, still singing. We keep it up, and one, two, five minutes pass. It gets louder. They're stomping in the balcony now, the very walls rumbling with our desire for their return. The drunk young man in the row in front of us, the one with the crappy mohawk haircut and overalls, is completely beside himself.

Then, our prayers answered, they reemerge. They've all changed clothes, shed the black shirts, ties and vests and donned simple t-shirts. Seth's put on his kamikaze headband. They're grinning from ear to ear, reiterating their gratitude at our presence, telling us they debuted at the Grand Ole Opry last night, and that they're glad to be here.

They play "Talk On Indolence," to my glee, and something else I can't remember. Then they bow again, shake hands with everyone else they can reach from the stage and exit. We keep right on making noise, and after a few more moments' whistled cheers, they come back one more time.

They play "If It's the Beaches," from their only EP, The Gleam. It almost sounds like they're about to play "The Ballad of Love and Hate," the one song that would make me cry like a baby in the midst of those thousands of people, but they don't. "If It's the Beaches" begins similarly, waxes likewise poetic and sentimental, and contains a few select lines that actually make your gut hurt. It draws to a sweeping close, the last few notes ringing out and then only the cacophony we make remains.


[MP3] The Avett Brothers - "If It's The Beaches"

3 comments:

Fifth said...

Fantastic review - I really wish I could have seen this show.

Amy said...

I want Avetts. Sigh. I wish I could have gone. I did get to be in Athens for a couple of days instead though...

Juliar said...

Thanks, fifth. I wish you could have, too. I wish Amy could have as well. Everyone deserves Avetts.