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Review: Avett Brothers at the Lawn

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I've seen the Avetts more times than I can count. Well...actually, I just counted. I've seen them six times. Three of those have been at the Lawn at White River State Park, where they return yearly in early fall. I always enjoy them, and I'll always come back.

I'm a big fan of the group's first few albums, particularly the massive, kinetic Four Thieves Gone. Their last two Rubin-ized albums (I and Love and You, The Carpenter) still retain the song-writing prowess, but they've lost some of the frenetic energy that drew me to them. Their lives shows are the same. I'll always remember the almost-mosh pit that greeted them at their Columbus date several years ago, but I appreciate the delicacy and sweetness of their new releases. The Avetts have settled down; they're dads, they're polished musicians, they're -- Rick Rubin'd. It's a different experience, but no less pleasurable.

This 27-song set -- with a Neutral Milk Hotel cover! -- was even more meaningful to me this time, because I had some time to talk to Scott Avett this week about the way they design their show experiences. Although, much like the tall Norweigian at the Oslo show Avett spoke of, I was disappointed they didn't perform "I and Love and You" and "If It's the Beaches" (two of my favorites), I understand now that the Avetts are trying to take the audience on a journey.

And that journey, at this show, included an encore with their father, musician and welder Jim Avett. For a band that is a lot about togetherness, the addition of their father made the Bros. Avett's voices ring even sweeter to me.

Complaints? I barely have them -- we can all moan and groan about the length of the line getting into the Lawn, but it moved quickly and efficiently (a group of people that know they're about to see the Avetts are a happy bunch). I for one appreciated the lack of an opener. The event was billed as an evening with the Avett Brothers, and it was only that --with the addition of a dad! It was an Evening with the Avett Family.

Set List: Shame
I Never Knew You
Down with the Shine
At the Beach
Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise
Paul Newman vs. The Demons
Winter in My Heart
Paranoia in Bb Major
Salina
Love Like the Movies
February Seven
Pretty Girl from Chile
Through My Prayers
When I Drink
Distraction #74
January Wedding
November Blue
Slight Figure of Speech
The Prettiest Thing (David Childers & The Modern Don Juans cover)
Live and Die
Go to Sleep
Laundry Room
Old Joe Clark

Encore:
Talk on Indolence
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (Neutral Milk Hotel cover)
Down by the Riverside (with Jim Avett)
Salvation Song (with Jim Avett)

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