Friday's Avett Brothers show at the Cat's Cradle lived up to even the wildest expectations, with a few almost-hometown surprises thrown in for good measure. Seth and Scott Avett galloped onto the stage around 9:30 p.m., even before Johnson City, Tenn.'s the everybodyfields. The duo (The Avett brothers?) opened with three songs from a six-song EP due in May on Ramseur Records and assured they were in the hands of one of the best bands in the country with the everybodyfields, a four-piece led by vocalists Sam Quinn and Jill Andrews. And the audience was, too: the everybodyfields are one of the most noteworthy unsigned bands in the Southeast, with Quinn's idiosyncratic songwriting and wit glinting through in songs that sound like meticulously articulate pages ripped from the travelogue of an itinerant palimpsest.
They play on a different level than the Avetts, though: Where the everybodyfields want to sit down, look you in the eye and talk to you about life, The Avetts famously tend to jump up, maniacally stare you in the face and spit bar after bar about life and bars and babes and hard times and fun times. They do it well, too. In two hours, they played more than two dozen songs, prompting the crowd to jump, sing and shout along to nearly every number. Guests abounded, with Scott's wife, Sarah Avett, joining on the violin, and the everybodyfields joining for an epic chorus of "The Salvation Song" at night's end. The night's biggest delight, however, was seeing Paleface, an antifolk legend (Daniel Johnston taught him to write songs in 1989; he spent the early '90s palling around with one Beck Hansen; he's been signed to Polydor and Sire) and Avetts collaborator, join the band for guitar work, several harmonica solos and "Dancin' Daze," a gem included on his last album with New York trio Just About to Burn and The Avett's latest album, Four Thieves Gone: The Robbinsville Sessions. Oh, good times.
If you're interested in the music business as a career, you will certainly hear how hard it is to break into the profession and stay in it in any sort of lucrative sense. As such, there aren't a lot of "job fairs" for gainful employment in entertainment. Alltel Pavilion, though, is offering several ultra-entry level positions this shed season, and they're having a job fair for new recruits on March 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on March 15 from 5 to 9 p.m. They say "Don't forget to bring your smile." Just remember that David Geffen began his career in the William Morris mailroom, and that shouldn't be so hard.