The Avett Brothers with Lake Street Dive

Friday, October 4, 2019

The DCU Center, Worcester, Massachusetts

I hadn’t seen The Avett Brothers in eight years, and my Dan had never seen them. They were on his concert bucket list, so I logged into Ticketmaster the day tickets went on sale and we decided to make the trip to Worcester (their closest stop to us) and spend the night in a B&B. When Lake Street Dive was announced as the opening act, I was even more sold on the idea.

We checked into our B&B and walked the five or so minutes to the DCU Center. I ran into Bobbi, my friend-in-music, in the lobby before the show, which was a great surprise. We got to our nice seats just a few minutes before Lake Street Dive took the stage. I was surprised by how big the venue was. This was my sixth Lake Street Dive show. The first time I saw them was back in 2011 at One Longfellow Square in Portland with probably 40 people in the room. I’m happy for their success but much prefer to enjoy them in a more intimate venue.

Lake Street Dive’s Rachael Price broke her foot “dancing alone in her living room” and so she sat on a giant blue velvet chair in the center of the stage. While she really tried to dance and move while seated and she sounds incredible no matter what, it really did affect the quality of the overall performance. Also, their sound was so echoey that it was really hard to hear. It was the worst Lake Street Dive experience I’ve had, though both issues were out of their control. I liked pianist Akie Bermiss on lead vocals for their cover of Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work” and am always glad to hear “You Go Down Smooth” in person.

This was my third Avett Brothers show. I saw them twice in 2011, but not since then. I fondly remember their cellist, Joe Kwon, jumping up and down on stage at the State Theatre while playing his cello. He was incredible. 

I was a little nervous during the break between bands because the sound had been so bad during Lake Street Dive’s set, but the sound was perfect for the rest of the night. Scott and Seth Avett welcomed us to their album release show for Closer Than Together, which came out earlier in the day. I was glad to see the Avett Brothers again. They sounded great and I’d sort of forgotten how many of their songs are part of my regular rotation, like “Murder in the City,” “Head Full Of Doubt/Road Full Of Promise,” and “I And Love And You.”

I was stunned by their new song, “We Americans,” that delves into patriotism in a heavy way:

The flag waves high and that’s how it should be 

So many lives given and taken in the name of freedom 

But the story’s complicated and hard to read 

Pages of the book obscured or torn out completely 

I am a son of Uncle Sam 

And I struggle to understand the good and evil 

But I’m doing the best I can 

In a place built on stolen land with stolen people

I have to mention Mia, the very, very drunk woman seated right behind us (of course) who shouted all through the Avett Brothers’ set. Mia shouted “soooooo goooooooooooood” so many times and talked loudly through every single one of their songs (except when she left to go find more drinks and got lost coming back to her seat). I kept my eyes open (because she was obviously drunk and asking her to quiet down would not have worked) and spotted a couple of seats across the aisle that we moved to so we could hear a bit less Mia for the last handful of songs. Are you going to a concert? Don’t be like Mia. Mia makes concerts not fun for people who drove a really long way to be there.

 Although the band didn’t say a whole lot or introduce many of the songs with some background (which is what I like), they played twenty songs and closed the night with “No Hard Feelings.” Dan was happy to have seen them for the first time, so, no matter what, I was glad to be there, too.




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