What was initially set to be a mid-level show at the Turner Hall Ballroom, hit the calendar and spawned into a sold out show revealing fans as excited to see the opener and the headlining act.
Tonight, The Low Anthem and The Avett Brothers lit up The Riverside as few other shows have in the recent past. Drawing the sizeable yearning crowd that Wisconsin-native Bon Iver was able to pull back in October, The Low Anthem and The Avett Brothers coveted silent attention from start to end.
No question, to whoever it was that brokered the deal to line these two bands together, I’d like to commend your brilliant pairing.
The Low Anthem took the stage just after eight o’clock and started the evening with an hour long set. At times undeniably energetic and at other times spiritually forlorn, the trio lived up to their recordings on last year’s break out album, "Oh My God, Charlie Darwin."
Given the dozens of staggering reviews from everyone from the New York Times to NPR in the last year, The Low Anthem had a lot to live up to. And, I’m quite happy to admit, they did.
But tonight’s fandom, from the long list of listings on Craigslist begging for tickets until show time to the energy pouring out of the isles as attendees retreated to the lobby after the show, gave the impression of a new band, releasing a debut album on the cusp of making it big.
And while that might be the case for Rhode Island based Low Anthem, it’s simply not the case for The Avett Brothers. They’ve released 12 recordings in the last 10 years; they are veterans of the scene who like military veterans so often do, only receive the credit and praise they deserve, long after the battle has been won.
But, tonight, the crowd clearly intended to give them the admiration they deserve.
Playing several off their newly released "I and Love and You" but also taking the crowd back to albums like "Emothionalism" and "Mignonette," The Avett Brothers’ harmony unified their eclectic sound and solidified a growing alt-country, alt-indie fan base. Fans yelled favorites from the crowd and band-members and brothers Seth and Scott Avett lent stories and anecdotes in gratitude for the hour and a half show.
Somehow, when put to describe tonight’s show, The Avett Brothers managed the complicated task of capturing the English style pop of bands like The Kooks, the folk artistry of The Fleet Foxes and the classic tradition invoked by the Beatles.
But, above all else, The Avett Brothers proved their harmonizing mastery. Blending their four voices with solely one microphone, the beauty of "I and Love and You" translated from recording to live show; increasing in power and depth on stage.
So, whatever the reason that Milwaukeeans ended up in a Riverside seat tonight, whether it was The Low Anthem or The Avett Brothers who initially pulled them to pop for the ticket, it was a worthy show through and through.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.
After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined OnMilwaukee.com as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.
Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.