The Avett Brothers
ACL Live Shots
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Oct. 9, 2009
The Avett BrothersOct. 2, Zilker Park
As evidenced by their brand new disc, I and Love and You, the Avett Brothers, known for their careening mix of folk and bluegrass, have reached a turning point in their career. Whether their already fervent fan base follows the North Carolina ramblers down this new path is undecided. The crowd at the Avett's midafternoon set waited for the quartet – brothers Scott and Seth, both of whom shifted between banjo, guitar, piano, and drums, plus bassist Bob Crawford and Joe Kwon on cello – to return to their old headbanging hoedown ways, but it was not to be. Instead, a palpable gravity marked the set, the band delving deeply into I and Love and You, whose poignant title track proved a highlight. It wasn't all gloom. "Slight Figure of Speech" bore a resemblance to the goofy bounce of the Violent Femmes, and "Head Full of Doubt/Heart Full of Promise" was anthemic without being overbearing. Closer "The Perfect Space" and its closing lyric, "I wanna have friends that I can trust, that love me for the man I've become and not the man that I was," were telling. The ACL crowd was generally accepting. A larger audience should follow.