Jesse Reaves concert review: Avett Brothers on New Year's Eve

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I did not know I was going to see the Avett Brothers until my friend Russ offered me and my girlfriend, Katie, some extra tickets (thanks again Carol!). I didn’t have any plans for New Year’s Eve and I had heard some of the Avett’s music, so I figured what the heck, a New Year’s Eve concert sounds nice.
The venue was the Belk Theater at the Blumenthal Center, directly in the heart of downtown Charlotte (which was definitely an interesting place to be, with the New Year’s Eve party atmosphere in the air).
If you have never been to the Belk before, it is an amazing place, probably the nicest concert venue I’ve ever been to. There is a very elegant, old-time feel to it with balconies lining the walls, a large mezzanine, and a lot of floor space for dancing.
The Avetts had a few bands opening for them, including Paleface and Jessica Lee Mayfield, who were both superb. The Avetts took the stage after them and proceeded to bring down the house for the next two hours or so.
I was very impressed from the start at the energy that they brought to their songs. The band had a drumset set up, but also had just a bass drum and a high hat at the front of the stage so Scott and Seth Avett could stomp along to the songs.
They played a lot of the songs that I knew, including “Paranoia in B Flat Major,” “Will You Return,” “Die Die Die,” “Murder in the City” and “Pretty Girl From Chile.”
One of the more interesting moments of the night was the cover of “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman.”
The band was also joined by their father, Jim Avett, for a cover of “Keep on the Sunny Side.”
The band played until it was time to start the countdown to the new year, which was done by all the bands and the crowd.
The Avetts continued playing after midnight, ending with a rousing version of my personal favorite song of theirs “Go To Sleep.” The crowd kept singing the song as they left the stage for a short break.
For an encore, the band returned and finished with the heavy part from “Pretty Girl From Chile,” which was a lot of fun as the band all of a sudden thrashed around like they were a punk group.
People who were expecting a night full of folk and bluegrass were probably very surprised at this point.
All in all, I have to say this was one of the best shows I’ve been lucky enough to attend. The energy of both crowd and band was amazing. I was won over by the group and have been listening to them almost nonstop ever since.
They are opening for Dave Matthews this summer with a show coming to Charlotte, so I highly recommend checking them out.
Musician Jesse Reeves lives in Salisbury. He can be contacted at