The Avett Brothers are back with their third live album, aptly titled Live, Volume 3. The album, which is also available on DVD, was recorded at the band's big hometown show at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte in August 2009.
The album showcases the band's raucous, high energy live performances the band have become known for, but that's a double-edged sword when recorded. The energy is fantastic, but the recording makes the sloppiness of the live show apparent, with the band sawing away at their various stringed instruments wildly. In an interview on the DVD, Seth Avett calls the band's live sound "a beautiful mess," which is very fitting.
"Colorshow" is one of the highlights of the album, with a chugging rhythm groove by Bob Crawford and drummer Mike Marsh. Seth Avett goes a bit too far with the screaming on the track though. Someone needs to remind him that they're not a metal band, though his scream could give Dave Grohl a run for his money.
The piano tunes from I and Love and You, the title track, "Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise" and "The Perfect Space," really shine live. The solo tunes "The Ballad of Love and Hate" and "Murder in the City" are moving live tunes. Seth has to start "Ballad" over again after saying "I'm so happy right now I can't stand it."
One song that didn't make the album but is on the DVD is "Swept Away" featuring guest vocals by Avett sister Bonnie Avett Rini. She sounds great on the song and it's a shame it didn't make the album.
By the way, the DVD is beautifully shot and also features interview clips with the band and fans. Having the visual really captures the Avett live experience more wholly than the audio alone.
Even with its flaws, Live, Volume 3 is a great snapshot of a moment in time for a band that will likely have many more, many more years to come and many more Live, Volume releases.
The Avett Brothers will play Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh on Friday, Oct. 8. Tickets are available here.