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Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Big Pink / A Place To Bury Strangers at First Avenue, March 18, 2010

The Big Pink
A Place To Bury Strangers

On Thursday night at First Avenue in Minneapolis, two of the hottest, but very different, indie rock bands right now came together for a spectacular show.

A Place To Bury Strangers, “New York’s Loudest Band,” manned the stage for 35 minutes with only two sources of light, both video projectors, transmitting surreal beams of light into the audience. Their title held true, and it was still deafening through my recently purchased earplugs. Stand-out track from 2009’s Exploding Head, "In Your Heart", was the only cut in which I could make out vocals. Nevertheless, ATBS were triumphant, and they made art out of deafening sound, using the simple lineup of guitar dripping with effects, bass, and drums to their advantage.

The Big Pink were my main reason for going to First Avenue on March 18th, and although they didn't receive great reviews from the Star Tribune or my dad, I enjoyed their set thoroughly. Opening with the single "Too Young To Love" from their breakout debut album A Brief History Of Love, the stage was clouded with tons of mist and a bevy of strobe lights. Songs such as "Velvet," "Crystal Visions," "Tonight," and "A Brief History of Love" were brilliant live, but the middle of the set became a bit dragged out. Massive indie hit "Dominos"closed out the set in raucous fashion, having the crowd actually involved in the set for the first time all night.

All in all, it was an above average night, with APTSB greatly exceeding my expectations and The Big Pink playing a nice, normal, but typical set. Maybe the best part of the night was the fact that the concert let out well before 10 o' clock, with the 7:30 p.m. start time not being the trickery that it usually is.

Set List:

Too Young To Love

At War With The Sun



Crystal Visions

A Brief History Of Love

Count Backwards From Ten

Twilight (Electric Light Orchestra Cover)


These Arms Of Mine (Otis Redding Cover)


Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Avett Brothers At First Avenue, March 5th, 2010.

Oh my gosh. I had forgotten what a versatile group The Avett Brothers are. Their songs in the studio range from the bare bones of acoustic to the complexity of true pop. In a live setting, the result is even better.
First Avenue was packed with a wide range of people, from old Avett Brothers fans back when they were more of a country act, to new, indie rock oriented fans. Everyone was enjoying the show though, with Seth and Scott Avett pumping up the crowd and switching magically between slow and fast numbers.
They opened with "And It Spread," one of my favorite songs from the new album, "I and Love and You." Then finished the opening trio with a one-two punch of "Shame" and "Slight Figure of Speech." Those three songs are all worthy of being placed late in a set or even in an encore, so I didn't know where the magical brothers, joined by bassist Bob Crawford (full time,) cellist Joe Kwon (live only,) and a new live drummer, could go from here.
The Avetts filled the middle of the set with more acoustic numbers such as "January Wedding," "Traveling Song," and "Tear Down the House." The fans were still enthralled. Then they picked it up again. The short but rocking "I Killed Sally's Lover" sandwiched "November Blue" with "Kick Drum Heart," a song that they haven't played much on this tour, probably because old time fans see it as the bald-faced evidence of the bands departure from their banjo-acoustic guitar days. The fans loved it live though.
The highlight of the night came from my favorite track from the new album, "Laundry
Room." Seth stood right in front of us playing his guitar, and I could almost touch him he was so close to the end of the stage. Bob Crawford and Joe Kwon interacted in an amazing way, leaning on each-others backs and singing to each-other. The song slowly built up to an amazing acoustic finish that had the crowd jumping up and down more than they had been the whole night.
The amazing live band finished their main set with other highlights such as "Will You Return," "Go To Sleep," and "Matrimony." The fans screamed for an encore, and the band came striding back out for the all to obvious finale of "I and Love and You." It's a great song, but something such as "Talk On Indolence," "Colorshow," or 'Paranoia' would have been better to close out the show.
All in all it was one of the best shows I've seen, and it by far topped their concert at the Minnesota Zoo this summer. The Avett Brothers really seem to love eachother, constantly smiling at each other and helping each other out, and it reflects their musical talent. I'm glad I went to see these magical brothers a second time because they are one of the best live bands in the business today.

Set List:

And It Spread
Slight Figure of Speech
Traveling Song
Tear Down the House
Pretty Girl from Annapolis
Head Full of Doubt/ Road Full of Promise
Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms (Buck Owens Cover)
January Wedding
The Perfect Space
I Killed Sally's Lover
November Blue
Kick Drum Heart
Laundry Room
Will You Return
Where Have All the Average People Gone (Roger Miller Cover)
In the Curve
Backwards With Time
Go to Sleep

I & Love & You

I'll post a couple videos in about a half an hour.