The Avett Brothers at Riverside Theater
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The Avett Brothers took the stage to meet a sold-out crowd at the Riverside Theater Saturday night for the final show of their two-day stay in Milwaukee, and the last stop of this year’s tour. All was dandy until about 30 seconds into their first song, “Paranoia In B Flat Major,” when all the sound went out. Not just one mic or one guitar—everything. The audience carried the band through the entire song, and it wasn’t until the Avetts started on their second that they realized what had happened. Guitarist Seth Avett mock-kicked the speakers on stage and yelled to the crowd, “It’s okay, we’re gonna get through this!” After almost 20 minutes of work backstage, the Avett Brothers returned. The sound was still a little shaky until “Colorshow,” after which Seth announced, “I think we’re in the midst of proving that we can do anything if we stick together!” They lunged into “Tin Man,” and it was smooth sailing from there.
Brothers Seth and Scott Avett have undeniable musical chemistry, and it’s incredible to see it in action. The best parts of the show were when the two shared a microphone, playing so close together even though they had the whole stage to work with. Cellist Joe Kwon was also a hit, his long hair flying about as he unleashed a frenzy of notes, song after song. The group’s vibe was a little off since it was missing its regular upright bassist Bob Crawford, who is currently not touring due to family matters. Even so, the show was a success. The crowd loved the Avetts, and they loved us. “One time we drove 21 hours from our home in North Carolina just to play a show in Milwaukee and drive back, and we’d do it again,” Seth said. “You guys make it so worth it.”
The much-anticipated encore included the quick “Wanted Man,” a fun cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Angie,” and the beautiful “I And Love And You.” The Avett Brothers shouted, “Hey, we wouldn’t leave if we didn’t have to! Thank you,” and closed the night out with the exhilarating “Talk On Indolence.” Some people wear earplugs to protect their ears from the noise of the band, but on Saturday, it was the crowd that was loudest. The cheers didn’t stop until well after the encore was over.
Opener Jill Andrews and her band were a twangy complement to the Avett Brothers. A Zooey Deschanel lookalike with a lovely voice and presence, Andrews caught the audience’s attention and held it. The upright bass and electric guitar played well with the soft drums and acoustic guitar, making for a very pleasant set.