Sunday, October 13, 2013

Passion Play: Avett Brothers Live

10 OCTOBER, 2013
Rolling into the home stretch of their 2013 season, the Santa Barbara Bowl continued a year of gambling with edgier acts that sometimes bore fruit financially, sometimes not. Each event, however, was a building block in the solidification of their historic relationship with the city, and an attempt, not to give the people what they want, but what they need.
The Avett Brothers made their first headlining appearance at the Bowl, and they did justice to the venue, combining their tour-honed playing with lush vocal harmonies that combined with the fog drifting in off the nearby ocean to create memories for those in attendance. With a new album on the way next week, the Avetts were fine tuning new material, as good a demarcation between tours as can be had, since it can be said that they never truly seem to leave the road. Witnessing the evolution over time of the group has been a treat, from Coachella appearances in a tent (2007), to commanding the outdoor stage in 2010, to this very evening.
They were in fine form throughout, but seemed to find a higher gear with a trio of: older gem "Pretty Girl From Chile", the new "Vanity", and their live standard "Murder In The City". Touring cellist Joe Kwon was on hand, lending his verve to the set, shredding strings, and generally having a good old time. They finished the regular set out with a rocking "Kick Drum Heart", and got the crowd engaged on "I and Love and You". While the new-folk wunderkinds will come and go, the Avett Brothers remain, making their case for, as Dave Alvin termed it, American Music.

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