Sunday, October 31, 2010

Concert Review: The Avett Brothers @ The Ryman Theater (Nashville, TN)

( #Avett, #GracePotter, @dookiefinger, #Ryman )

Opening Act: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Date: Saturday, October 30th, 2010
Location: The Ryman Theater - Nashville, TN
Band Website: The Avett Brothers

[Nashville]

My wife, a few friends and I decided to take a weekend trip to Nashville to see the Avett Brothers and enjoy the “City of Music.” Fall in Nashville was excellent: the weather was mild, the downtown area was decorated for Halloween, and there was a palpable excitement in the air. I will get to a recap of our adventures in Nashville in the next few days, but I wanted to share this concert experience first.

[Grace Potter and the Nocturnals]



When we sat down in our excellent center-stage seats, I started chatting with the costumed college kids in front of me. They had been to the show the night before and I asked them if there was an opening act, they said Grace Potter. I had heard of her, but did not know any of the material. The college kid said she was average the night before and I guess he must have been smoking some of the good stuff because...

Grace Potter was fantastic. This woman can sing her ass off, she knows how to put on a show, and she surrounds herself with excellent musicians. Her two guitars players were really good in that understated-but-know-when-to-turn it up kind of way (very similar to Sheryl Crow’s long time guitarist) and her bass player is one of my all time music crushes Catherine Popper. I wish I had caught this band when they were in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, but they are totally on my radar now.

My friend (who doesn’t follow any music not on the mainstream country stations) started screaming like a little girl when Potter invited country musician Kenny Chesney on stage. Chesney managed to bother me by standing in front of Popper, but sounded at home on the Ryman stage. Potter and the band finished their set and the curtains closed in preparation for the main event.

[The Avett Brothers]



When the curtains re-opened 30 minutes later, the stage was decorated for Halloween. The entire band came on stage dressed as mummies (and remained in costume the entire 2 hour show) and proceeded to entertain the crowd in their typical high-energy fashion.

While the band played well, it was really hard to hear over the audience singing along. Having long heard of the Ryman’s excellent acoustics, I was disappointed I couldn’t experience it for myself (I think it amplified the crowd instead of the band). The Avetts played several crowd favorites (but not many of their singles). The personal highlight of the night was the solo performance of “Murdered in the City” because the crowd went silent and I got to really hear the song.

Being their last show until New Years Eve, the Avetts really went for broke. Costumes aside, you could tell that the whole band was really happy to be playing (and then taking a break). Cellist Joe Kwon seemed to be soaking in the crowd as he left the stage before the encore.

This would not be an Ordered Chaos concert review without a little crowd report. Overall, the crowd was super cool and respectful. It was a nice mix of younger and older fans and everyone seemed to be mindful of each other... except the kid sitting next to me. The Ryman has these wonderful church benches to sit on (which of course nobody used), but it served the purpose of breaking up the crowd and providing personal space. This kid next to me kept getting closer and closer, crossing over the divider and bumping into me. As I learned to accept that, he started doing this wide clapping thing, almost elbowing me in the face at least a half-dozen times. I shot him a few dirty looks, but he did not get the hint. Eventually my friends left early and I got the personal space I craved.

Overall, it was a great show in a wonderful city and venue. I kinda wanted to see if I could get Catherine Popper’s autograph after the show (she was a part of my favorite album of all time), but a.) I had no idea how to do it and b.) I didn’t want to be that creepy fucker bothering a musician after a show - besides, my wife and I had to pack for the flight home.

Until the next show...