North Carolina based country band rocks Rupp Arena



By Matthew Wickstrom

[email protected]

The Avett Brothers began their fall tour at Rupp Arena Thursday night to an enthusiastic and welcoming crowd.

The quartet from Concord, N.C., often stops in Lexington on their tours and this time they were joined by special guest Jason Isbell, formerly of the Drive-By Truckers, and his blend of new age country.

Isbell took the stage with his band, The 400 Unit, at 7:30 p.m. and opened the show with “Palmetto Rose,” a tune off of his latest record, “Something More Than Free,” which was released over the summer.

Several other songs from Isbell’s new album made appearances during his hour long set along with “Outfit” and “Never Gonna Change”, two songs Isbell wrote for previous albums. Cut from the album Southeastern, “Super 8” closed out Isbell’s set, and he received a standing ovation from the crowd.

After a brief set break, the lights dimmed once again and the Avett Brothers emerged.

With the hum and strum of his guitar, Seth Avett led the band into “Bring Your Love to Me” to open the set, followed by “Down With the Shine” and the pairing of “Head Full of Doubt” and “Road Full of Promise.” During this portion of the set, brothers Scott and Seth Avett, cellist Joe Kwon, violinist Tania Elizabeth and bassist Bob Crawford jumped around and jived to the music they were playing.

Elizabeth’s solo mash-up of “Le Reel du Pendu” and “Les Bars de la Prison” provided a segue-way into the second half of the Avett Brothers’ set.

During a lengthy rendition of “Slight Figure of Speech,” the band’s members fell to the stage late in the song and gave way to drummer Mike Marsh, who played a drum solo that was choreographed to build up, have the other members of the band rise back to their feet, and kick back in to the close of the song.

Fan-favorites “Kick Drum Heart” and “Hand-Me-Down Tune” from the album “The Ballad of Love and Hate” rounded out the set.

A curtain call by the crowd lured the Avett Brothers back onstage for what turned out to be a three song encore that included a solo performance of “Murder in the City” by Scott Avett.

The rest of the band joined the brothers on stage to play “Pretty Girl from Here” and “I and Love and You.” For the latter, the band encouraged the crowd to sing along with the song’s final line, “I and love and you,” a total of four times.

“The show was great — every Avett Brothers’ song was perfect in every single way,” said Conner Ball, an agricultural biotech sophomore. Ball said he is a huge Jason Isbell fan, but he was disappointed he did not get to hear Isbell play his favorite song, “Elephant.”

Hospital administration sophomore Taylor Lazas said she also left Rupp Arena happy with the show.

“‘Cover Me Up’ was my favorite song,” Lazas said.