On New Years Eve in Charlotte, The Avett Brothers along with some other musical artists played at the Blumenthal’s Belk Theatre. The event was amazing and I cannot think of a better way to enter 2009. There were four different acts, starting with Jason Webley, Paleface, Jessica Lea Mayfield and ending with The Avett Brothers.
Jason Webley started off the show. Accordion in tow, he made his way to the microphone, despite the seats still being a little scattered. He welcomed us and started right into his set, which filled the theatre with more sound than anyone thought a rough voice, accordion and stomping could. His lyrics were laced with complexity-simplified and the messages sent through them were ponderous, exemplified in songs “Icarus” and “Last Song.” Webley had some cultural songs as well, such as “The Drinking Song,” in which he felt the audience participation wasn’t lively enough so he asked us to all point at the ceiling and spin in a circle twelve times, staring at our pointed finger. This was the first time I had ever heard of the artist, but as soon as his set was over I went to the merchant desk and purchased the three albums he had available.
Paleface took the stage while I was away. I didn’t get to see most of the show, but did catch the last part of the last song they played due to purchasing Jason Webley albums, two cigarette breaks and waiting in line at the concession stand. Before the show I was informed that Paleface was great live, so I was a little dismayed on missing out . I sat back down in my seat while Jessica Lea Mayfield and company commandeered the ears of the audience. The set list played was very chill and mellow. It was nice, however, I couldn’t stop thinking about the order of the artists. Would a different way have worked better to lead up to The Avett Brothers? Mayfield did a fantastic job nonetheless.
The audience sat in anticipation for the upcoming act. Then Scott and Seth Avett, Bob Crawford, and newest edition Joe Kwon on cello, entered on stage-left and went to their respective spots to throw down that alternate bluegrass. Many celebrated songs of theirs were played throughout the night, including “Die Die Die,” “Colorshow,” “Talk On Indolence,” and “Distraction #74.” The most exciting part of the show for me was when they played “Wanted Man,” a song that they learned from Doc Watson. I’ve always enjoyed the song and it was amazing to hear them play it live, even though the song is only a minute and a half long. One experience that all should have is to soak in a live interpretation of a beloved song.
Some memorable parts of the Avett Brothers show were the switch from 2008 to 2009, and when Jim Avett, Scott and Seth’s father, took the stage a played a song with the band. When a minute was left of 2008 Scott grabbed a clock from backstage and brought it out and held it up. We all counted down to 2009 together, and as soon as the new year struck, all the previous acts came out and joined The Avett Brothers in “The Fall.” Other than one person not memorizing the words and singing a part by himself, it was really great.
Jim Avett being introduced to the stage and playing a song with the band was significant because his sons are said to have been inspired by him to start playing this genre of music, and to start the band, which they began after a taste of the heavy metal music scene.
Looking at the show in retrospect I wouldn’t only recommend going to watch The Avett Brothers live, but going out there and watching some bands you are interested in, accompanied by some unfamiliar names on the line-up. A great treasure from this event was being introduced to Jason Webley.