Concert Review: Avett Brothers Delight Fans with 2 Shows at Fox Theatre
Review and Photo By Hannah Bodenhausen
If Friday night’s performance at the Fox Theatre made one thing clear, it’s that St. Louis loves the Avett Brothers. The band played their first of two sold out nights in the Lou to a wild crowd of dedicated fans. The band is no stranger to St. Louis crowds, and has played major venues including Chaifetz, Stifel Theatre (back when it was still Peabody), and even headlined Loufest back in 2015. Having been a band since 2000, The Avett Brothers have accumulated tons of fans in the area over the years, and they certainly showed out for the first night of their St. Louis run.
The show had no opening act, so as 8PM came and went, the crowd began to buzz with anticipation, rushing to their seats as the Fox house lights flicked on and off. After not too long a wait, the band arrived on stage, opening with the slowly building “Morning Song.” The Avett Brothers don’t play the same setlist night to night on tour, so what the rest of the set could hold was a mystery to the crowd. With nine albums to pull material from, plus one to be released this October, it was anyone’s guess what songs they would play. The set ended up being a mixture of tracks from almost every era of their time as a band, and St. Louis knew all of it.
The performance’s energy ebbed and flowed throughout the night, seamlessly transitioning between higher energy crowd favorites such as “Shame,” “Vanity,” “Ain’t No Man,” or “Talk on Indolence” and slower songs like “Murder in the City,” “When I Drink,” and “No Hard Feelings.” During some of those quieter moments, members of the band often left the stage, leaving just Seth and Scott Avett alone, providing a more intimate atmosphere. The brothers shared stories of growing up and touring together, some more comical, and others serious and deeply emotional.
When Scott explained how St. Louis, feels like a second home to the band, this could have initially come across as him just trying to please the local crowd, but as the show went on, it quickly became clear that he was completely earnest. St. Louis fans clearly have a deep connection to the band and the music, as evidenced by the crowd singing every word, even of the older cuts, dancing in the aisles, and shouting out to them any chance they could. The audience went absolutely wild when during “Ain’t No Man,” Scott ran through the aisles.
While from a genre perspective The Avett Brothers are difficult to pin down, a common thread ran throughout the entire performance, and that was love, both in the specific romantic sense, and in the greater sense. From the crowd’s response, their hopeful message was one many needed to hear. The first song of the encore “The Ballad of Love and Hate” resonated particularly well, with lyrics just as relevant today as they were when the song was released over 10 years ago regarding love persisting despite hate pushing itself away. That message of hope and love will be carried by thousands of St. Louisans going into this week after back to back nights of inspiring music from The Avett Brothers.