GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

September 4, 2014

Las Vegas Weekly

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Page 45 of 67

46 September 4–10, 2014 tHe OFFSprING bY CHASe SteVeNS; tHe AVett brOtHerS bY erIK KAbIK/retNA A& E | noise The Avett Brothers brought a big crowd to Brooklyn Bowl for night one of their three-show residency, but that was nothing compared to Saturday and Sunday, which left no wiggle room whatsoever on the main floor. When I interviewed bassist Bob Crawford prior to the band's mini-residency, he promised the group would dig deep into its catalog over the course of the three shows. True to his word, the Avetts did, repeating very few songs nightly, with the exception of "Kick Drum Heart," "Down With the Shine" and "Head Full of Doubt." Each set also had a unique flow: Friday focused on live classics and innovative covers, Saturday saw the band go more obscure and Sunday combined old jams and a hefty dose of tunes off 2012's The Carpenter. Each time since the band first visited town in 2010, it has added members to its live roster. Last weekend saw the Vegas debut of violinist Tania Elizabeth, who complemented the previously all-man band with additional string melodies and high-harmony vocals. The Avett Brothers have graduated from their once-unpolished live sound, dropping some DIY/more-with-less charm in favor of increased production value and four-part string harmonies. To my mind, they're better than ever. It's not often adult siblings can make it through the holidays without a bit of drama, but after nearly 15 years of writing and performing together, the brotherhood bond of Scott and Seth Avett—musically and personally—was as apparent as ever. Eat your heart out, Donny and Marie. –Chris Bitonti C O N C E R T Five thoughts: the Avett Brothers (august 29-31, Brooklyn Bowl) This has been a summer of '90s nostalgia tours in Vegas, and in some ways the punk rock Summer Nationals tour isn't much different from packages featuring bands like Sugar Ray and Everclear. Like those bands, The Offspring, Bad Religion and Pennywise had a few popular radio songs during the '90s and have been playing to increasingly insular fan bases since then. But all three bands also came from a vibrant Southern California punk scene that supported them before they hit it big, and that punk-rock dedication has helped support them in the years fol- lowing. Certainly the packed crowd at the Joint (even for Pennywise, which went on right after openers Stiff Little Fingers) spoke to the enthusiasm that fans still have for this music. There were loud sing-alongs and vigorous mosh pits throughout the night, but it was all still fueled by nos- talgia. Pennywise performed in front of a banner touting its 25 years as a band, and when guitarist Fletcher Dragge introduced a song from recent album Yesterdays, he made sure to point out that the album features new record- ings of songs written years ago, so they aren't really new. "Pretend like it's '89," he told the crowd, and they complied. Overall, Pennywise's set was a bit sloppy, with Dragge and singer Jim Lindberg spending nearly as much time rambling into the microphone as they did playing music. Bad Religion, which has been around since 1980 but had its biggest mainstream suc- cess in the '90s, took the stage next to show the (relative) youngsters how it's done, burning through 17 songs in just under 45 minutes, full of lit- erate social commentary and catchy hooks. "Don't idealize the 20th cen- tury; it wasn't that great," singer Greg Graffin said—right before introduc- ing a "selection" of songs from 1988 album Suffer, to the crowd's great appreciation. The Offspring played more than a selection of songs from 1994 break- through album Smash; the whole con- cept of the tour was that the band would be playing the album in its entirety, although The Offspring bent the rules a little bit, switching the order of some songs in the middle and holding mega-hit "Self- Esteem" to the end, so that the first half of the set could go out on a high note. For a band that has descended into gimmickry in its later years, The Offspring proved it could still bang out a set of fast, efficient pop-punk, with lesser-known Smash tracks like "Genocide" and "Not the One" sounding just as strong as the hits. "I'm not a trendy asshole," Offspring frontman Dexter Holland sang on the album's title track, then disproved that assertion during the novelty- heavy hit parade of the set's second half. Still, for a little while, the punk rock spirit of 1994 was alive and kicking. aaacc THE OFFS PRING, BAD RELIGION, PENNY WIS E August 27, the Joint. C O N C E R T Punk rock nostAlgiA The offspring, Bad Religion and Pennywise party like it's 1994 bY JOSH bell > cOmE OuT AND PLAY The offspring give fans what they're looking for.

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