The highlight of February 2017 was undoubtedly the first Avett at the Beach festival. But first, the band warmed up with two shows in Florida in early February. In total, the band played five full shows in February including 124 total songs and a whopping 74 unique songs.
February 3—Tampa, Florida
Kat Lamp designed the poster packed full of symbolism inspired by the song No Hard Feelings. Ironically, perhaps, the setlist did not include that song, but it kicked off the evening with Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth), included Sanguine (for the first of five performances in 2017), and finished up with If It’s The Beaches.
February 4—Pompano Beach, Florida
February 7—Late Show with Stephen Colbert
When it was announced that The Avett Brothers would perform on the February 7th episode of Colbert, a fair number of us hoped that they would play the song by the same title that night. Instead, they played the country version of True Sadness, which had been taped in January on the same night they performed Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth).
February 9—Avett at the Beach (Night 1)
Avett at the Beach was a four day music festival at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, Mexico, just south of Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula. The stage was literally set up on the beach, with the Gulf of Mexico visible behind it. Guests stayed in one of nine buildings, with the concert courtyard set up between Buildings 5 and 6. The crowd was limited to approximately 2,500. It was an intimate, raucous setting.
There were three nights of music. The Avett Brothers headlined (i.e. played 10pm to midnight) on Nights 1, 2, and 4. Band of Horses headlined on Night 3. The opening band on Night 1 was Lake Street Dive. The Devil Makes Three opened Night 2, Brandi Carlile on Night 3, and Jason Isbell on Night 4. There were a number of other special events throughout the festival including a community service activity that Mike Marsh and his wife participated in and a cooking class hosted by Joe Kwon.
Given the set decorations, created by Charles Crisler of 27 Design Co., it shouldn’t be a surprise what song The Avett Brothers kicked off the weekend with—At the Beach. The first night’s setlist was fairly standard with one big exception—Untitled #2. That was attendees’ first clue that the band had some surprises in store for us.
February 10—Songwriters’ Workshop
On the second day, Scott and Seth hosted a Songwriters’ Workshop outside the Heaven Bar. They chatted, answered questions from the audience, and played five songs: Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth), Cigarettes, Whiskey, and Wild, Wild Women, Sanguine, When I Drink and (with help from the audience) SSS. It was hot and the sun was beating down, but the Songwriters’ Workshop was my favorite part of Avett at the Beach.
February 10—Avett at the Beach (Night 2)
The wind was blowing and Seth’s feet barely touched the stage all night. The Avett Brothers opened their set with D Bag Rag but then launched into Gimmeakiss and Left on Laura, Left on Lisa. One highlight was the explosive Kick Drum Heart into Geraldine combo. But perhaps the best moment of the evening was at the end, when Brandi Carlile took the stage to perform Murder in the City with Scott and Seth.
February 11—Avett at the Beach (Night 3)
Brandi Carlile was not the headliner on Night 3—that honor was reserved for Band of Horses. Band of Horses played a good set, but Brandi brought the house down. She made a lot of new fans in less than an hour. Here are a few highlights:
February 12—Avett at the Beach (Night 4)
Jason Isbell opened for The Avett Brothers on the final night. A few of the highlights from the Avett set included Smoke in Our Lights, February 20, 2000 (!), and Skin and Bones. They finished their main set, appropriately enough, with If It’s the Beaches, and the encore with No Hard Feelings, a beautiful way to end the festival.
Check out this mini-movie created by Cloud 9, summarizing the Avett at the Beach festival.
February 18—A Prairie Home Companion
The Avett Brothers recorded four songs in their first appearance on Prairie Home Companion: No Hard Feelings, True Sadness, Murder in the City, and Hand Me Down Tune.
February—Avett Guild Vinyl
Finally, members of the Avett Guild received their first vinyl record in February. The 45 record included a recording of Walking in Jerusalem from 2005 on Side A and a 2014 recording of Satan Pulls The Strings. The artwork was designed by Seth.