The Avett Brothers – August 2011

Arches, Glasgow
Monday 22nd August 2011

If you’re not familiar with the Avett Brothers, they would probably fall into the ‘folk rock’ category. They’re one of the few artists I could find online that don’t just play softly-softly, plonky music on the banjo when I was first starting to learn myself. The hillbilly instrument sounds so good when it’s being thrashed about, but it takes a whole lot of skill to pull it off properly.

The last photos (and first actually) I saw of the Avett Brothers, they looked really… well… not skinny, so it was a bit of a surprise to see such svelte chaps onstage.

Their beards have confirmed for me that I need to hang onto mine, at least for the time being. You can’t really play banjo if you don’t have a quality beard. The presence of the facial hair should also help thwart off any rednecks I may encounter in the States.

The guy on the cello is called Joe Kwon, and he has some of the greatest facial expressions I’ve ever seen onstage… pure joy! There’s not enough artists who actually look like they’re enjoying what they’re doing, so it was a welcome addition.

Oh, and there’s not enough people around who play double bass. It’s a skill I wish I possessed. There’s something infinitely cooler about them than the regular old electric one.

I’m glad the gig was in the Arches; it’s a venue I’ve come to love over the years… so dark, with a lot of soul, and just that little bit dangerous. It was rather pleasant to be back in the photo pit again. I’ve avoided doing many gigs the past couple of years, what with the deluge of ‘photographers’ appearing around Glasgow with their pretentious, self-absorbed pish, but it was just me and one of the old regulars for this…

You can’t beat taking photos alongside somebody else that knows what they’re doing. It’s a strange thing, but there’s a way of moving around each other in the pit that lets everyone involved get the best photos at the angles they need… being complimentary to each other.

It’s almost like a dance.

You can pick it up pretty easily, but you’ve got to be aware of who and what’s going on around you… which is why so many of the n00bs kicking around just now don’t get it… they’re too busy wrapped up in their own little silo… and why it makes them so easy to spot.

I was at the gig with Artrocker, and if you want a more detailed, muso-type review, check out the feature over on the site. There’s also a ton more photos up over at ClickySteve.com if you just have to have more.

I’m going to have to work on my banjo playing… it’s been neglected as of late. Maybe as the beard comes on, it’ll happen naturally.

I’ll be playing Deliverance before you know it.

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