Joe and I had tickets to see the Avett Brothers at Radio City Music Hall, but my change in job status and state of residence two weeks before the show screwed that up. I was determined to see them anyway, though, so I nabbed tickets to see them in West Virginia. I figured that the mountain/hillbilly vibe might actually add to the experience.
Apparently the Radio City Music Hall show was a once-in-a-lifetime event, with lots of special guests and a feeling of vindication/homecoming. See below:
The Huntington, WV show was plagued with audio technology glitches (they kept having to switch out microphones) and plain-old piss-poor hall acoustics. Every note echoed back off the opposite walls a couple of times. As for the hillbillies: they more closely resembled drunken fratboys. Who knew that drunken fratboy culture had spread so widely? Granted, they were like drunken fratboys from twenty years ago, wearing 90s fashions and sporting 90s goatees. But drunken fratboys all the same.
I couldn’t find any decent video from the show, but here’s an official Vevo release of a live performance of one of their bluegrassier/punkier songs:
Regardless of all the problems with the venue, the Avetts put on an amazing show, with as much integrity, commitment, and passion as any band I’ve ever seen on any stage, at any time. You would never have imagined that these guys had just come off two sold-out days at Radio City Music Hall, that they had already “made it,” that the half-full high school basketball gymnasium they were playing was any kind of a step down. The Avetts play every show like it is their one chance, their big break. That sounds like hype. It’s not. There is nothing quite like actually being in a room when they attack it with their awesomeness. If they’re playing anywhere near you, you should go. Even if you don’t think you like “that kind of music.” Even if you don’t think you like music.