Harmonies perfected with The Avett Brothers in Atlanta
www.youtube.com Todd Neal

Live review: The Avett Brothers with Gov’t Mule at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park in Alpharetta, GA, 7/26/14

Touring in support of their latest acclaimed album Magpie and the Dandelion, The Avett Brothers feel a special kinship with the Atlanta area. Hailing from Concord, North Carolina, the band made many four-hour drives to Atlanta in their early days of touring the small clubs. So it’s with those memories that guitarist Seth Avett thanked Atlanta for always treating them nicely and having them back now.

The set kicked off with the happily upbeat, kazoo-laden “D Bag Rag,” an instrumental that seemed perfect as an opener. The band explored songs from all eight of their full-length studio albums and then some, including two covers. The George Jones classic “The Race is On” was well done, and the concert closer, The Spaniels cover “Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight” was a wonderful culmination of the evening (you may be more familiar with Bowzer of Sha Na Na singing this one).

Older brother Scott Avett showed incredible proficiency on the banjo as well as jumping to guitar and organ throughout the evening. The highlight of each song – of the entire performance – was the perfection of harmony by the brothers. Think Crosby, Stills & Nash for the 21st century. With the brilliant vocals and the tight musicianship of each band member, The Avett Brothers have that live wow factor that not all bands can achieve. It’s one thing to create something magical in the studio, it’s a far different (and greater) thing to shine on stage as the Avetts did (and do every night).

Both brothers showed their energy from the beginning, jumping and screaming as if coming to Atlanta was a Christmas morning, of sorts. They were having the time of their lives and this mood easily transferred to the audience. For the full set list, visit Setlist.fm.

Gov’t Mule, headed up by the multitalented Warren Haynes, brought some fresh blues-rock to a younger generation of fans. Haynes, who played alongside Gregg Allman with the Allman Brothers Band for 25 years, recently announced his departure from ABB. Working on the strengths of his Gov’t Mule, Haynes can more than adequately head this fabulous band. His exquisite guitar playing and rock and roll singing voice has created several great albums since the band’s inception in 1994. Meant to be a side project to Haynes’ Allman Brothers' job, he will now be focusing full time on the Mule.

The one-hour set included selections from the latest Shout! as well as covers from The Band (“The Shape I’m In”) and Van Morrison (“Tupelo Honey”). With a couple Larry McCray tunes thrown in, this turned out to be a good night to jam. For the complete set list, visit Setlist.fm.