I arrived at The Avett Brothers’ Saturday night headlining set feet away from the stage. I was using the photo pass this day, so despite not knowing the North Carolina band so well I would soon know them more intimately than I ever imagined.
They opened their set and 80,000 people let loose behind me moving around to the alternative folk band. As aforementioned, I regretfully was not as familiar with The Avett Brothers as I should have been. Soon enough I realized how much of a mistake that was.
My biggest misconception was how calm the band was. Yes, to some degree, the band was relaxing and fun. But when the time was right the band could blast through the speakers and inject adrenaline straight into the crowd. Their high energy came naturally while maintaining their sound. It was the audience’s reaction and the band’s engagement that lit the place up.
For example, the band had the audience in the palms of their hands during their performance of “Kick Drum Heart”. Everyone in the long Cincinnati field clapped their hands in unison during the short pauses of the fast paced sing-a-long. Times like these were the most convincing for someone who was largely unfamiliar with the band.
The Avett Brothers just got better and better as they stayed on. With each passing song, I found myself bobbing my head more and more. Next thing I knew, I was swaying around, and finally full on dancing. By the end, I was jumping around in all directions. This is a band that I could happily recommend to anyone, whether they knew the group or not.
I have to say, The Avett Brothers may have been my favorite headliner of the weekend. I loved The Black Keys, but had seen them once before and the show was mostly the same. Saturday night proved to be a trip into unknown territory. Luckily, I came out a believer.