The Avett Brothers Light Up the Bowl

Band Offered Up Rollicking Fun, Exquisite Music

The Avett Brothers play the Santa Barbara Bowl. | Credit: Paul Wellman

“I’m a high steppin,’ high bettin’ / love givin,’ I’m a love getting,” sang Scott Avett as he and the rest of the Avett Brothers band hit the Bowl stage on a humid Saturday night in August. The bouncy tune is a single from their upcoming album, Closer Than Together, which drops October 4, and it sent the already excited crowd into a fever-pitched state. What followed were nearly two hours of rollicking entertainment and exquisite music. 

Brothers Scott and Seth lit up the venue with their electric energy as they played the punchy “Die Die Die” and feedback-tinged, honky-tonk-esque “Satan Pulls the Strings” in quick succession. Slowing it down then, the Avetts showed their songwriting adroitness as the rowdy audience quickly settled at the first graceful notes of “Morning Song.” 

The evening’s set list was excellently paced, a delightful panoply of their catalog that drew heavily from True Sadness, Magpie and the Dandelion, and I and Love and You. Particularly memorable was “Laundry Room” from 2009’s I and Love. The song translates well live — beginning as a contemplative ballad and then erupting into a spirited bluegrass coda before returning again to a delicate serenade. 

Other highlights included an acoustic cover by bassist Bob Crawford and Seth of Jim Croce’s “Operator” and a killer drum solo from Mike Marsh in the middle of “Slight Figure of Speech.” The band finished the evening with the stirring “No Hard Feelings,” sending the audience into the night with the last lines of the song — and a gentle reminder for clemency — “I have no enemies.” 

Set List

“High Steppin’” — their fourth single from upcoming album Closer Than Together, to be released Oct. 4
“Die Die Die” — Emotionalism
“Satan Pulls the Strings” — True Sadness
“Morning Song” — Magpie and the Dandelion
“Laundry Room” — I and Love and You
“Talk on Indolence” — Four Thieves Gone: The Robbinsville Sessions
“Part from Me” — Magpie and the Dandelion
“At the Beach” — Mignonette
“Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” — I and Love and You
“Operator” — (Jim Croce cover)
“Untitled Four” — unrecorded
“I Wish I Was” — True Sadness
“Vanity” — Magpie and the Dandelion
“Kick Drum Heart” — I and Love and You
“Who Will I Hold” — yet to be released song from Closer than Together
“Live and Die” — The Carpenter
“Bring Your Love to Me” — Magpie and the Dandelion
“Ain’t No Man” — True Sadness
“The Perfect Space” — I and Love and You


“Black Mountain Rag” (Doc Watson cover)
“Slight Figure of Speech” — I and Love and You
“No Hard Feelings” — True Sadness


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