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  • Rich Kassirer

Concert Review: Avett Brothers at the House of Blues

The Avett Brothers at the House of Blues.
The Avett Brothers at the House of Blues.

The Avett Brothers are family. The two leads, Seth and Scott, are real brothers, and bassist Bob Crawford and cellist Joe Kwon are extended family. And the crowd at their shows? Yes, we’re family as well. Before they even played a note on Sunday at the House of Blues, the band sincerely thanked the ecstatic audience for showing up, saying “We never thought Boston would feel so much like home.” It was a snowy (Oct. 18??!) and cold night, probably not like their home in North Carolina.

And then they ripped it up, played their hearts out and jumping up and down for those crazy relatives who just can’t get enough of them. They fuze their country-rock tunes with an indie-rock energy. The Avetts’ stellar new album, “I and Love and You,” has brought in some new fans — me included. I didn’t know exactly what to expect from them live, though watching clips of their performances on YouTube, I had a good idea what was coming. The new album has some seemingly low-key tunes, including the show opener “January Wedding,” but those worried that the new material would slow the boys down were mistaken. By the second tune, “Salvation Song,” they were full-on.

Scott and Seth take turns on vocals, even seamlessly on verses of individual songs. They also shared drumming duties, giving up their guitars or banjos between tunes to whack on the kit. Crawford moved between electric and stand-up bass and Kwon added some expressive strings even in pogoing, high-energy songs you wouldn’t expect it to work. Another tip-of-the-hat to the House of Blues for near-perfect sound. This is my fifth show there, and the sound has always been great.

While I don’t know a lot of the older Avett material, I know they did cover a good cross-section of their past (“Will You Return” from “Emotionalism” and “Pretty Girl From Matthews” from “Country Was”) and present (“Laundry Room” and “Tin Man” from “I and Love and You”). The setlist is below, courtesy of the Avetts message board.

After a solid hour and a half of frenetic fun, the boys came back on stage and twice thanked the crowd for coming out. Then finished up with a great pairing of new and old with “And It Spread” and “If It’s the Beaches.” We thanked the Avetts and went back out into the cold.

The setlist: January Wedding Salvation Song Head Full of Doubt Road Full of Promise Talk on Indolence Tin Man Tear Down the House Pretty Girl from Matthews Slight Figure of Speech Living of Love Paranoia Incomplete and Insecure Gimme a Kiss I Would Be Sad It Goes On and On Laundry Room Wanted Man Left On Laura, Left on Lisa Perfect Space

And It Spread If It’s the Beaches

For pics from the shows, click HERE.

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