The Avett Brothers
Saturday night Chris, Ivan and I celebrated the turning of the calendar at The Bi-Lo Center with The Avett Brothers.  I mean, technically we were “with” The Avett Brothers since we were in the same building but as we were at least 100 feet away from them I doubt they knew we were there. We will just have to call that one “their loss” and wish them better luck next year. Anyways…

First and foremost, let me say that The Avett Brothers put on an amazing live show.  This is the second time I have seen them live and they bring an energy to the stage that sets them apart from many live performances we have seen. Plenty of bands take the stage as if they are just doing their “job” and it always bleeds through in their music. It is refreshing to see a group that has achieved The Avett Brothers level of success still goes out and has a good time. 

With that being said, allow me to break down the highs and lows of the evening…

The Good

  •  As I said, The Avett Brothers put on one hell of a show.  Their set list is perfectly put together and their love for their work is attached to every note.  And just for the record, I was most looking forward to Murder In The City and as great as it was, the revised version of Incomplete and Insecure stole the show for me.

  • We went to see The Avett Brothers but were also treated to the Avett Sister.  They brought out their sister for a song and seeing the brothers play backup for their sister’s solo was pretty darn cool.

    Danielle Howle
  • Danielle Howle and Firework Show was a perfect choice for the opening act.  Her set list ran the gamut from Americana to folk to jam band to gospel.  She has a great voice and her performance deserves a headlining concert all its own.

  • Ivan got to go to his first “big” concert.  We have always exposed him to live music but this was the first time that he was able to associate the people on stage with the band he requests on his ride home from school.  If a six-year-old can be starstruck, then it happened to Ivan Saturday night.

The Bad

  • Ivan slept through most of the concert.  He had a long day and hit the wall somewhere near the end of Danielle Howle’s performance.  He was asleep by The Avett Brother’s third song and refused to wake up until quarter to midnight.  Fortunately, they played until almost 12:30 so he did not miss out on everything.

  • The Bi-Lo Center sucks for live music.  Seriously.  The acoustics are terrible and they make great performances sound like they are being broadcast through a bullhorn with a pillow jammed in the end.  Anytime The Avett Brothers or Daneille Howle addressed the crowd, I could barely make out a word of it.  Music should be seen in concert halls or small outdoor amphitheaters the way God intended.*

  • Eight dollars for a 24 ounce Budweiser? Four dollars for a bottle of water?  I am a huge fan of capitalism and I respect the ability to take a few liberties with a captive audience but that bordered on cruel and unusual.  

The Ugly

  • The drunk couple that was making out in front of us.  In addition to both of them being hard to look at on their own, I have complaints. As a grown man you turn the bill of your hat to the front, you do not smoke cigarettes in a non-smoking arena, and you stop trying to hop the railing to hang out with the cool kids in the general admission section (especially when there are no seats down there and you can barely stand up as it is).  

We try to keep a pleasant, happy attitude here at The Upstate Under Your Nose so I apologize for my above complaints. Our general approach to this blog comes from our mothers’ advice when we were six – “If you don’t have anything nice to say, blappity, blappity…”  If we do not like something we just do not write about it and it is just that simple.  I am conflicted over this one though, so I guess it is important to share both sides of the issue.

I promised myself years ago that I would never go to an arena concert again.  I have never had a problem keeping that vow and prefer limiting my concert-going to smaller, more intimate venues.  I came out of retirement this weekend and even though I am reminded why I swore off arenas in the first place, I am glad we went.

At the end of the day we saw one of our favorite bands in a less-than-perfect venue and, more importantly, we changed Ivan’s life.  Ivan is not as jaded as I am and in his world, the entire night was “incredible”.  He does not care that the sound quality was garbage, his Aquafina was four dollars, or even that he spent 80% of his favorite band’s performance asleep.  His innocence overlooks these trivialities and all that matters to him is that he saw his favorite band on stage. The look on his face as The Avett Brothers performed his favorite song (Slight Figure Of Speech) paid for the evening.  Being able to experience the midnight countdown and subsequent balloon drop was icing on the cake.  As a family that takes its music seriously, it was the best gift of the season to see him take his appreciation of music to another level at such a young age.

Chris and I will continue to catch our live music at every small venue from local bars to The Handlebar to The Orange Peel.  For us, that is where we make our memories.  For Ivan, however, I will stand in line from here to The Georgia Dome if he wants to see someone he loves.  As long as he appreciates real music that captures his heart, I will encourage every moment.  

He can get snobby about the venue later.

* Seriously, I am pretty sure that is in The Bible. I think it is in the middle somewhere.