Friday night in downtown Akron was one of those nights to remember for many thanks to The Avett Brothers. It was one of those nights that anyone who came to the show will think of for years to come with help from their amazing performance. Intimate at times as well as a full on rock show, everyone who had a ticket to that show left satisfied.
North Carolinian brothers Scott and Seth Avett once used to fill the quaint Kent Stage in Kent, OH but thanks to their success as a folk rock band they needed a bigger place to play. With help from the Kent Stage crew the boys left that smaller stage for the classy Akron Civic Theatre, a stage I think suited them perfectly.
Having no idea that there was even an opening act, I was thrilled when the curator of the Kent Stage announced that Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers were taking the stage. Having just recently been introduced to the country rock act I found myself even more excited to be at the show.
Samantha Crain and crew took the stage and received a warm welcome just after eight o’clock. After a few songs in it was clear that the crowd had accepted them into their ears, thanks to her unique singing style and country rock, and were cheering loudly after each song.
During one moment after a song Samantha Crain stated she missed a note and declared “everyone hits a wrong note” and continued on how she is hard on herself for doing so even though she knows it happens. The crowd all seemed to agree with what she said and not once did I hear any wrong notes played. Then again I only had heard a couple of songs prior to seeing her set live.
Samantha Crain admitted it was only the second show her and the band had played with The Avett Brothers and thanked them for the opportunity to share the stage. Admitting she came from a small town in Oklahoma she basically confessed to living the dream. Seeing her jump around excitedly on stage as she strummed her acoustic guitar just proved how excited she was to be up on that stage.
Shortly before the Avett’s took the stage, die-hard fans started screaming out “Happy Birthday Scott!” Clearly many of the fans knew that one of the members was celebrating their birthday in Akron that night.
With the curtains still drawn The Avett brothers along with Bob Crawford started their set off with “PGFA”. Everyone in the house went wild upon hearing the music begin and once the curtains were opened it was clear to everyone how great this band truly is. With an array of instruments behind the trio everyone’s attention was focused on the amazing folk-rock playing from the banjo, the stand up bass, and acoustic guitar as well as dual signing that had just begun. To add to the stage’s appeal there was a giant backdrop of a ship that resembled Scott Avett’s art.
While standing in literally the middle of the venue I felt that I had the best place to hangout at for the night while taking in all that The Avett Brothers dished out. Their songs, as my friend Seth said it best, gave me that feeling that many in the past had to have felt when the Beatles first started playing their music live. I was heavily sucked into each song they played and had a smile on my face that lasted pretty much until I got home that night and finally fell asleep.
Throughout the set Joe Kwon would join the trio and add cello to some of the songs. The brothers would share singing duties and seemed to swap out guitars during every song and at times even during some of the songs. It was really interesting to see Seth Avett swap guitars and narrowly miss continuing the song but he is a pro at what he does and there were no interruptions.
Playing through songs such as “Please Pardon Yourself”, “Die Die Die”, and “It Goes On & On” The Avett Brothers sounded as amazing as I thought they would. I missed many the opportunity to see this band live in the past and regretted it each time. Finally though I found myself at one of their live shows feeling privileged to be in their presence.
In between songs fans were screaming out requests to the stage in hopes that their favorite song would be performed spur of the moment but The Avett Brothers thanked them for their requests and continued on. Seeing them smile up on stage as they performed just proved how great of a time they were having as well. At one time a fan screamed that she loved them and Seth Avett responded “we love you too.” The band even played a new song from their upcoming album to be released in September.
That one new song the band played just made my night. It was titled “I & Love & You” off of their upcoming late summer release I & Love & You. With Scott Avett taking the drumming duties as well as signing out the I and love and you with his hand as the crowd sang along I found myself getting chills. It was a great feeling and a great love song.
After the band played “Skin & Bones” they exited the stage. Fans screamed and applauded the amazing performance while at the same time were still hungry for more. Luckily the Avett’s were not quite done yet and returned to the stage moments later with a couple of extra helpers, Kent’s very own folk star Jessica Lea Mayfield and her bearded brother David. It was the perfect end to an amazing evening.
The Avett Brother’s live show turned me into a bigger fan than I already was. I really think the live experience just intensified their talent. While leaving the historic Akron Civic Theatre I heard no complaints at all and everyone was just in a great mood. I do not think I have ever attended a show quite like the one I did on that warm Friday night. I can not wait till the next time these boys come back to a city near me. I know I will be there in a heartbeat.
The Avett Brothers Setlist (as taken from the band’s web forum):
Please Pardon Yourself
Die Die Die
Down With The Glistening Shine
Gift For Melody Ann
Song Of The Dying Sailor
It Goes On & On
I & Love & You
At The Beach
Murder In The City
Talk Of Indolence
Skin & Bones
Encore (with Jessica Lea & David Mayfield)
Will You Return