A live album can do one of two things for a listener:
1) Help the listener relive an amazing concert. With each song they can see the band thrashing about on stage, or see them be stone still in their memory. Relishing each note as they saw it and experienced it.
2) Make the listener wish they were there and make damn sure they wont miss the band the next time they come around because they want to experience.
Some bands have a new energy live. Their songs take on a new urgent life that gives you a whole new appreciation for the song. It can also make you see the song in a new light, good or bad (ahem Weezer). The Avett Brothers have developed a fantastic live show that is known far and wide to their fans. The brothers, Scott and Seth, use their hard rock background to blow their bluegrass/folk songs up and out, and put on a damn fine show. On the bands newest live release, Live, Volume 3, they capture that energy, but Id rather see it live than listening to it at home.
As I listened to the album I was immediately struck by how loud and present the audience is in the mix. You can hear them singing along with the songs, cheering, yelling to the band, and loving every second. The whole mix itself seems very live and rough. Some instruments and voices arent as balanced, but its not a bad thing at all. If you close your eyes you can picture yourself there sweating in the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, NCthe Avetts home state. The bands energy is catchy and grows with each yelp and scream that comes from a few steps back from the microphone.
And yelp they do. Nearly every song has the Avetts channeling the rock and adding some great screams and growls. It can be a bit much at times. In Four Thieves stand out Colorshow, most of the first half of the song has Seth and Scott trading off some big screams that, while good, gets a bit much for me. Being familiar with a few of the songs, part of me just wants to nail the trademark harmonies that make the brothers such a fantastic duo. However, they still hit those harmonies, and it definitely adds to my desire to be there at the show itself so I can see their energy and their movements as they scream and yelp across the stage.
The track listing pulls from the bands entire careerfrom Pretty Girl From Matthews (from their second album Country Was) to their most recent hit I and Love and You. Any fan of the band will recognize and enjoy the selection. Personal favorites include Kick Drum Heart, Paranoia in B Flat Major, and Murder in the City. There is even a great moment when an overwhelmed Seth Avett tries to start A Ballad of Love and Hate, but gets so lost in the moment and performing in his home state that he forgets some lyrics. He apologizes by saying, Im so happy right now I can barely stand it. Im just gonna go one more time if you all are ok with that and then launches into the song again. That moment along with many other times that they say how pleased they are being there give me a genuine enjoyment of the band. They have become incredibly successful, but they are still grateful for everything they have and from where they have come. You dont always get that with successful bands, and its incredibly refreshing.
The Avett Brothers have succeeded in hooking me and wanting me to experience their show for myself. The CD also has a companion DVD you can purchase that might be the better bet in this situation. The album makes you want to see the scruffy brothers, want to see the crowd, the jumping the dancing. I dont want to say it takes away from the album, but its just a different experience. Its a great live album in that it plants the bug in your brain. You wont want to miss them the next time their around, and I admire the hell out of that.