A train is no match for The Avett Brothers at Musikfest
The Avett Brothers / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

“Well my good Lord was with me tonight. Just ridin’ beside me tonight. And now were’ just talkin’, we’re hitch hiking walkin’. We’ll see you in Bethlehem tonight. And now we’re just talkin’, just hitchhiker walkin’. We’ll see you in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania tonight.”

Last night, Seth Avett enchanted the MusikFest crowd with his solo performance of “In The Curve” from The Avett Brothers‘ from 2007’s Emotionalism. It wasn’t quite what he implied while leaving The Mann Center stage in September, but Bethlehem isn’t too far off the map, and the band had the steel stacks as their backdrop as they headlined Musikfest last night.

The evening started with Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds’s compelling gospel-funk fusion to warm up the growing crowd. With rousing dance moves as sly as her lyrics, Sister Sparrow Arleigh Kincheloe’s body language commands the attention a woman with her voice deserves. A dominating bluesy alto with just enough rasp around the edges to overpower the six piece band behind her (including a bari-sax, trumpet, and harmonica) its hard not to be spellbound as she sings tunes like “My House” (from the band’s 2010 self titled record) and “Make It Rain” (from 2012’s Pound of Dirt). If you missed them last night, I highly suggest checking out their music via Soundcloud and keeping an eye out for next time their in town.

As if the excitement of an Avett Brothers set wasn’t enough for the feverish Bethlehem crowd, the band gave a theatrical entrance to top off the excitement. With only the drummer on stage and the lights low, Mike March started the set with an addicting beat. Before you know it, a spot light comes on stage left to show off violinist Tania Elizabeth Then a light on center stage revealed Paul Defiglia with an upright bass. Right stage brightened up to show Joe Kwon on cello, and then Bob Crawford and Seth and Scott Avett came running onto the stage as they start into “Satan Pulls The Strings.”

Playing another remarkably nostalgic set, The Avetts included crowd favorites from almost every album including “Another Is Waiting” from their latest album Magpie and the Dandelion, “Nothing Short Of Thankful” from Mignonette, and “Laundry Room” from I And Love And You. A passing train tried to drown out Seth’s and Scotts’s mesmerizing duet of “A Father’s First Spring,” but the groaning chug-a-lugging of the steel is no match to the captivating harmonization of the Avett boys. Finishing up with “Morning Song,” the crowd cheered until you could see the band’s silhouettes sneak back onto the stage for an encore.

Bringing out their playful side, the entire band pulled out kazoos for instrumental “D Bag Rag.” Wishing the crowd a pleasant farewell, the set was finished up with “Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight.”

Below check out photos from both Musikfest sets and The Avett Brothers’ set list.

Satan Pulls The Strings
Another Is Waiting
Live and Die
Nothing Short of Thankful
Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise
Down with the Shine
Spell of Ambition
Laundry Room
Old Joe Clark (cover)
The Prettiest Thing (David Childers cover)
Slight Figure of Speech
A Father’s First Spring
In the Curve
Le Reel Du Pendu / Les Bars De La Prison
Die Die Die
Traveling Song
Living of Love
Talk on Indolence
Kick Drum Heart
Morning Song

D Bag Rag
The Race Is On (George Jones cover)
I and Love and You
Good Night Sweetheart, Good Night

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