Aided and Avett-ed
I was a little uncertain at first, sitting on the sidewalk with a current issue of Metropulse, waiting for the gate to open and, more specifically, for folks I know to show up. Enter Bill Wolf and Greg Adkins - two fellow musketeers of the married and musical variety. Yes, says I, I am not relegated to a lone barstool and an evening of marvelling at magic to no one in particular. And magic it was, but that comes later.
We secured a table and a number of stools and began to wait out the doldrums between soundcheck and opening act. I had told Greg that, being on a budget of the $10 I had in my pocket (which went to buy my way in), I was only going to have a beer if he was buying (which he wasn't). Enter, Stephen Cox. In his mischievous way, he snuck onto a seat, and was amongst us before we could raise our defenses - and he bought me a Red Stripe, the good lad. Soon after, Nathan and Britta entered in succession. Conversations began, and we were well on the way to an integrated round-table celebration worthy of our New City ancestry - not to live in the past or anything. And then the Everybodyfields took the stage, and the country boy in us all took flight, well accompanied by a girl on the fiddle and another on both electric and lap steel (cranked with enough overdrive to leave you breathless with the sheer soaring tone). Insert: small problem. Nathan was about to slaughter the sound man (who was right in front of us) and take over to avert the wealth of feedback that was being experienced. Luckily, the technician averted his own demise by passing the buck to the Avett's personal soundman.
We paused for a break after being lulled into a trusting submission by the Everybodyfields. Little did we know that we were softened up for the pummeling. After an endless thirty minutes, three gentlemen came out on stage. One, who picked up an upright bass, looked like a muscular version of one of my highschool band directors. The other two resembled later incarnations of Paul McCartney, at least as far as hair is concerned. The two brothers were clad in a classy grey and black, complete with a vest which I hope would look as good on anyone, and they donned a banjo and a guitar and began to lay siege to our castles of what music ought to be. The first thing noticeable was the banjo player was kick-pedalling on a bass drum, and the guitar player was well into the destruction of a hi-hat with his right foot. He promptly broke the pedal to it on the first song - that's hard to do, if you're not aware. For the next hour and a half, the Avett Brothers kept their guitar tech busy with broken string after broken string, never missing a beat, and never relenting.
We couldn't sit down. It had the energy of a punk rock show, but it was bluegrass (but not quite). The beer was plentious, but the crowd moved like a tent revival congregation. The devil-sold spirit of Robert Johnson didn't seem far-fetched.
After a severe thrashing of the instruments, the vocals, and the general party spirit of the place (with a tinge of an Irish pub), they brought back the Everybodyfields and finished off the entire night with Roy Orbison's All I Have to Do is Dream, and we all sang along.