Thursday, November 18, 2010

Awake My Soul - A Month of Music

I've been spoiled over the past month with three shows that easily made their way into the Top 5 I've ever seen. All within weeks of another.

The National at the Ryman Auditorium

This was my maiden voyage to Nashville's most historic and well-known music venue. It's so much more than a music venue. This is the original home of the Opry, guys. The place where The Greats once played their songs for the first time.

I was spoiled rotten with Row D seats for my first trip there. (Thanks to coaxing from my friend Colin to stand in line for the lottery at the venue instead of fighting it out for tickets online... I highly recommend and will do this as often as possible from now on.) 4th Row. I could touch them, if I wanted to. And since Matt Berninger actually jumped from the stage directly into our row, Annie actually did.

So the show was nothing short of awesome. I wish I had better words for it. They played my favorites from High Violet and Boxer, and a few I recognized from previous records. Matt's voice was perfect. All grumbly and gruff. I wish I had him to sing me to sleep at night. And he kept us cracking up with his dancing about and joking all along with the band. Also the horns, live, really stood out.  Here's a video I took of "Slow Show," one of my favorites:

For the final encore, the band took the stage and sang completely unplugged, paying tribute to the Ryman's natural acoustics and the musicians who played there for years before we made such steady use of mics and booming speakers. Here's a video, not taken by me. But taken from right behind me, as that's Colin's head in the foreground, and you can hear me cough at about 3:44.

My Birthday and the Avett Brothers at the Ryman


After spending my 28th birthday indulging in two cakes and Auburn Football, I began my 29th year again at the Ryman, where I saw the Avett Brothers, my second favorite North Carolina-born musicians. And anyone who has seen the Avetts will tell you they're even better live. The brothers' voices complement each other so well. And their entire band, with its stand-up bass, cello, fiddles, piano, and who knows what else, is incredibly talented. To say the Ryman was rocking is an understatement... there was so much pew-beating and foot-stomping that the building was literally rattling. Seeing as it was Halloween weekend, people were dressed up all over the place ... and they were excited. The band came out in full mummy costume, wrapped head to toe. I know they had to be burning up. Though they didn't play my favorites, and I  honeslty didn't know all of the tunes, I loved every minute of the show. And when Seth Avett came out and played "Murder in the City" for the first encore... I lost it. (See below.) They closed with "Kick Drum Heart," one of my favorites (though I'm somewhat in the minority among my friends for liking it) from their latest album. As you'll see, my seats weren't quite as great as before, but the sound wasn't affected. Here are a few videos I took:

Seth Avett - Murder in the City

Kick Drum Heart
(I apologize for any nausea induced by viewing... I couldn't stop dancing...)

Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise

Mumford and Sons - November 1st at War Memorial Auditorium


I was led to M&S this summer, at the insistence of a couple I waited on one evening. They were sitting there making their Bonnaroo packing list, and I got to talk to them about the Avetts, Yeasayer, and a few others I was hoping to see in the near future here in Nashville, and they said "Well have you heard of Mumford and Sons?" And no, no I hadn't. So I went home, looked them up (along with Sleigh Bells)... and I was/am hooked. Best tip I got all night! (zing!) Anyway. So if you're not familiar, get familiar. They're from the UK, and I can best describe them as punkabilly rock with Fleet Foxesque harmonies. Lovely songs on heartbreak, family, and there are hints of spiritual notes throughout. I was thrilled to see them at War Memorial in Nashville. A friend of mine from Birmingham stayed with me on his way to Bloomington, where he was going to see the Mumfords at a dive bar. And he wisely foretold that they wouldn't be playing dive bars for long. The guys blew up after Bonnaroo, and are now well on their way to becoming a household name...

And go figure they were spot-on live. Beautiful vocals. Clear sound. And since they are a sole-album band at this point, they played everything off of debut Sigh No More and previewed a few new songs. So I was a singing fool. Here are a few videos I took:

Awake My Soul (In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die. Where you invest your love, you invest your life.)

White Blank Page

But there's more. Yes, more. What else can you say, you ask? How many more words can you find to substitute for your go-to "awesome?" Oh, there was a surprise encore? And Old Crow Medicine Show joined the Mumfords and openers on stage to play "Wagon Wheel?" And "Wagon Wheel" is one of your all-time favorite songs? Yeah, no big deal. It's casual.

Best. Month. Of. Music. EVER.

1 comment:

Laurel said...

for all the reasons you proclaimed, the shows, the music and these historical's "why i hang my hat in tennessee"

cute post!