IWTAS on the Road: Avett Brothers with Social Distortion at Bridgestone Arena
October 31, 2011
We like to keep our talented friends close…we also like when they go far away and bring back the spoils of their victories in the form of ridiculous concert photos and spot-on reviews. Today, we bring you a special IWTAS on the Road feature from our friend and your favorite Corey Woodruff. He shot and reviewed the unique double-bill of the Avett Brothers with Social Distortion, and he had a pretty fine time:
For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why cowpunk legends Social Distortion were tapped to support the Avett Brothers last Friday in Nashville, but I’m sincerely glad they opened the show. Mike Ness and company were in stellar form, plowing through original staples like “Bad Luck” and rocked-up takes on country classics.
Sure, they may have been performing on a huge stage in a cavernous hockey arena with a lighting rig and sound system that would do Bono justice, but the sacred stage of Ryman Amphitheater was just a hundred feet away and Ness paid fitting tribute in that huge arena to the legends that graced the original home of the Grand Ole Opry.
The band’s version of Hank Williams’ “Six More Miles” followed an introduction that involved Ness betting on Williams over Sid Vicious in a fight, and the Orange County troubadours closed their set with a snarling version of the Cash classic, “Ring Of Fire”.
Never having seen Avett Bros. live, I wondered how the young folk-pop group could possibly follow the wall of sound that preceded them. But when I emerged from the backstage media room to shoot their set, I was greeted with a huge painted curtain draped across the front of the stage that obscured a candle-lit set adorned with flowers. And when the curtain dropped as they took the stage, I could tell from the roar of the enthusiastic (some might say, obsessive) crowd that I should expect something special.
Throughout their two hour(!) set, the band mutated on stage from a five-piece, banjo-fueled pop powerhouse (“Go To Sleep”, “January Wedding”) to a stripped-down acoustic duo featuring Seth and Scott Avett crooning weepers (at times solo) behind a single mic at the apron of the stage (“Ballad Of Love And Hate”, “Murder In The City”).
The show’s energy revved back up as cellist Joe Kwon and drummer Jacob Edwards returned to the stage for a soaring version of “And It Spread” before the band finished their set with “Head Full Of Doubt” and “Talk of Indolence”.
The three song encore predictably featured the poppy “Kick Drum Heart” and heart wrenching “I And Love And You” before the Avetts were joined by bassist Bob Crawford as they gathered together for an a capella version of the gospel standard “Down In The Valley To Pray”. It was a beautiful way to end a night of music that evoked every human emotion possible.