When The Avett Brothers step onstage, they do not disappoint — their live shows are unfailingly dynamic, energetic, and engaging. And so it was last Sunday, when Scott and Seth Avett and their bandmates delighted Bowl-goers with a two-hour-plus set that pulled songs from their nine-record catalog. Dispelling with an opening act, the band started promptly at 7:30 p.m. with the rollicking “Satan Pulls the Strings” from their 2016 record, True Sadness. Three more tunes followed — “Down with the Shine,” “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise,” and “Go to Sleep” — before Scott introduced cellist Joe Kwon after some particularly lovely bowing.
Musically, the show was a swirl of genres — folk ballads, bluegrass, rock, indie folk — that spoke to the depth of the band’s musicianship. Each of the seven band members had solos, all of which were brilliant — Seth’s guitar noodling was as good as any rock-and-roll axman’s, drummer Mike Marsh hit the skins with toe-tapping deftness, and fiddle player Tania Elizabeth teased alluring notes out of her instrument.
While the band members gave each song their undivided attention, a few were particularly memorable, including “The Ballad of Love and Hate,” “Talk on Indolence,” “Laundry Room,” and a heart-wrenching acoustic duet by Seth and Elizabeth of The Cranberries’ “Zombie.” “Ain’t No Man” and “No Hard Feelings,” both from True Sadness, were also crowd-pleasers, translating excellently to the outdoor venue.
It was an intoxicating evening of music and mutual crowd-band admiration, with The Avett Brothers proving, once again, that they are one of the best live bands going.
Satan Pulls the Strings — True Sadness
Down with the Shine — The Carpenter
Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise — I And Love And You
Go to Sleep — Emotionalism
Part from Me — Magpie and the Dandelion
Talk on Indolence — Four Thieves Gone
Morning Song — Magpie and the Dandelion
Vanity — Magpie and the Dandelion
Kick Drum Heart — I And Love And You
Just Be Simple (Jason Molina cover, from The Magnolia Electric Co. 2003)
Zombie — The Cranberries
Live and Die — The Carpenter
Salina — Emotionalism
True Sadness — True Sadness
February Seven — The Carpenter
I Wish I Was — True Sadness
Backwards with Time — The Gleam EP
Ain’t No Man — True Sadness
Laundry Room — I And Love And You
If It’s the Beaches — The Gleam
The Ballad of Love and Hate — Emotionalism
I’ve Endured — Cover of Tim O’Brien’s song (The Traveler)
Slight Figure of Speech — I And Love And You
No Hard Feelings — True Sadness