Funk, Folk And Rock Cut Through Rain At Avett Brothers’ Concert On The Bangor Waterfront

The concert was the next-to-last show of the Waterfront Concerts season. Despite the relatively low turnout, diehard fans of the Avetts, the popular Americana trio, still stood in the rain, ready to sing along to their hits, I and Love and You and Live and Die. Concert-goers including poncho-clad Michael McFarland of East Blue Hill anxiously watched weather reports all day, hoping the weather might clear up in time for the show. Oh, Im a big Avett Brothers fan, said McFarland, just before the show began. I missed them when they played in Blue Hill [at a music festival back in 2008], because it rained that time too. This time, I said I wasnt going to miss it. Opener Trombone Shorty also known as trombone virtuoso Troy Andrews brought soulful, rock-influenced New Orleans funk with his backing band Orleans Avenue. It contrasted with the Avetts equally energetic take on folk rock, replete with beautiful vocal harmonies; honest, sardonic lyrics; and a freewheeling blend of banjo, guitar, cello, bass and drums; all rooted in the songwriting of North Carolina brothers Scott and Seth Avett. Cheryl Sprang traveled seven hours from Sharon, Vt., to attend the concert with her husband, cousins and best friend. Were always up for a little adventure, said Sprang, who described herself as a big fan of the Avetts. A little rain wont keep us from going on a trip like this. Fridays concert, as well as Saturday nights SoulQuest festival , which features headliners Casting Crowns, a multiplatinum Christian rock band, are the final two shows of what has appeared to be a successful Waterfront Concerts season. Tanya Emery, economic development director for Bangor, pointed to the boost in revenue that concert-goers bring when they come to town and eat in restaurants, stay in hotels and use the citys other amenities. I think this year has demonstrated that the concerts continue to be a huge draw, said Emery. I continue to be amazed when I talk to people from five or six hours away who come for a concert and stay for the whole weekend. The increase in hospitality is definitely felt, but we also see a lot of growth in the little things, like foot traffic downtown and people seeing Bangor as a destination. Alex Gray, head of Waterfront Concerts, was pleased overall with the diversity of the lineup he booked for this years series. This was definitely our most diverse year of the four years weve been going, said Gray. We had the biggest jam band in the world in Phish ; we had Kenny Chesney , who is perceived as [one of the] biggest country acts in the world; and we had successful first forays into pop and hip-hop with Ke$ha and Lil Wayne .