Posted by Christopher Will on 04/30 at 01:14 PM
It was 9:30 on a Friday night, and the wind bit against the crowd’s coats and faces as they waited patiently for the headliner of Penn State’s Movin’ On 2012 spring music festival. They had been taken through the brawny, dark dance music of Keegan Tawa, the spunky ska of The Wondershop Showdown, the countrified folk of The David Mayfield Parade, the atmospheric, awe-inspiring alternative rock of Young The Giant, the bright, positive reggae-rock of Michael Franti & Spearhead, and the raucous rap of Ludacris. Now, a gaggle of people of all shapes, sizes, and ages crowded around the barricades as the lights lit up and a half-dozen ragged-looking musicians took the stage. Without pause, The Avett Brothers took up their instruments and launched into their folk-based-country-brushed-indie-pop-rock.
The Avett Brothers proved that they were more than equipped to handle the headlining spot of one of Penn State’s most popular concert shows. Their live performance was as gripping and emotional as their studio recordings, and they bounced and rocked across the stage with enough vivacity to keep the crowd engaged. Not surprising, as The Avett Brothers have played in a wide variety of venues, including the prestigious stage of the Grammy’s. The night was cold and dark, but the stage was bright and the music was warm.
The Avett Brothers played a good bit of songs from their latest release, I And Love And You, but also took time to delve into some of their older recordings. They belted and roared their way through “Gimmeakiss,” a track from their 2006 release Four Thieves Gone – The Robbinsville Sessions. They treated their crowd to a helping of morbid, earnest, old school bluegrass in “I Killed Sally’s Lover,” a track from their 2003 album Carolina Jubilee. They closed out their set with their honky-tonk, banjo-led, fast paced song “Talk On Indolence,” also from Four Thieves Gone. Those who knew the songs sang along with the ferocity of loyal fans, and even those who were unfamiliar with the music jumped around and danced.
As to be expected, the crowd reacted more to their tracks from I And Love And You. The Avett Brothers hit every note of aching passion in “And It Spread” and “Laundry Room.” They bolstered through the foot-tapping pop rock of “Kick Drum Heart,” though it was more guitar-fed and less piano-based than the studio version.
Their two standout performances of the night were “I And Love And You” and “January Wedding,” two of their most popular hits. They led the crowd in “I And Love And You,” and though the song is slow-paced and brooding, the crowd lifted their arms into the sky, singing along joyously. The Avett Brothers gave their fans the opportunity to close out the song, and everyone joined in as the air was filled with thousands of voicing singing, “I and love and you, I and love and you.”
“January Wedding” was, simply put, an absolutely riveting performance. Seth Avett began the song alone, and his guitar and voice filled the night air, both straining with emotion and love. The crowd was quiet, letting Seth Avett dominate the performance, and even when the rest of the band joined in, it felt as intimate and personal as a diary entry. But instead of being uncomfortably personal, it was heart-warming and stirring.
Author: Christopher Will
Bio: Christopher Will is a junior studying Communications and English at Penn State. He enjoys scouring the internet for the latest pop music news and gossip, and loves sharing new music with his friends and peers. Some of his favorite artists include Breathe Carolina, Fun., Childish Gambino, Gotye, Yellowcard, and Robyn.
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