Avett Brothers @ Deer Valley

Posted September 21, 2010 in

The Avett Brothers
Deer Valley Resort

If you’ve never heard The Avett Brothers’ music, your life isn’t what it could be—and that’s a fact. Is that a bold statement? Sure is, but they are a bold band: they cross lines, break boundaries and smash genres to pieces within a single song. To do that, and make it sound good, is no easy task.

On the first Friday of September I had the opportunity to see this all in person, and the anticipation was nearly enough to choke the life out of me. When I passed through the ticketing gates at the lovely Deer Valley Resort—about 20 minutes after the opening band was to have taken the stage—and heard the brothers called Avett already playing, my very bowels ached within me.

I’m still not sure what happened. What I do know is that the online ticketing, the physical ticket and the Salt Lake Tribune all listed The Avett Brothers as the headliner with Gov’t Mule billed as the opener. So there I was, dazed and confused, frustrated and infuriated, sad and depressed. I had missed who knows how much of the set, and even if it was only one song, it was one song too many. I quickly had to put aside how crushed I was for what I had missed and enjoy what I had left, which thankfully, was still about an hour’s worth of bliss.

For the next hour, The Avett Brothers did what they do best: they transcended, blurred and ripped to shreds the lines between folk, blue grass, country and rock n’ roll. The Avett Brothers may not be a punk band as far as their sound is concerned, but in attitude and the rule-breaking of the genres they exhibit in their work, they are more punk then any band in the scene today.

Everything was perfect. All the instruments–guitar, acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica, stand up bass, cello, piano, etc–meshed together as wonderful as root beer and ice cream on a hot summer day. The cool, early evening air complimented the well-mixed set of tunes, which blasted ferociously from the stage at times and merely tap-danced around in the air and gently patted my ear drums at other times.

Judging from the faces of the people arriving in the middle of the set, many were very saddened, as I was when I arrived, to find out that they were missing the very band they had paid to hear and see in person. The crowd–ranging from 20-somethings to 50 and 60-somethings–adored the band and the brothers adored us right back, giving well over a hundred percent of all they had to each song, whether rocking our faces off or soothing our weary souls with their soft-sung ballads. And they did indeed soothe our weary souls.

Just when it seemed they could do no wrong, the Avetts’—complete with Bob Crawford on stand-up bass and Joe Kwon on cello—sang the last words of “I and Love and You,” in unison with the fans, gave thanks and graciously left the stage. Of course, it wasn’t long before they appeased the moaning audience with a brief, but potent, encore.

Immediately following the encore, The Avett Brothers departed for the last time to a well-fed crowd, though we all could have gorged ourselves much more and still driven home hungry. On my way to the merch table, I saw the band meet with hordes of adoring fans, heard them talk about life, watch them take photos, witnessed them signing things and through it all they smiled and laughed the same as friends and families do at parties and get togethers. Other bands would do well to take notes from the Avetts. Not only of their ability and musicianship, but also of the type of people they are in addition to those things.