Seth and Scott Avett, good North Carolinians. Source: Darren Kataja.
The year two thousand and sixteen ended a few days ago. I was in North Carolina when it ended, at an Avett Brothers concert. It was dope becuase the Avett Brothers are good, and I really needed a good thing from North Carolina.
The Avett Brothers always play in their native state on New Years' Eve, a tradition dating back far before they joined forces with super producer Rick Rubin and smoothed out the rough edges of their original sound. The message of these shows consistently remains the same - family, faith, and realistic optimism. In the face of the year two thousand and sixteen, this fell on eager ears, especially when considering everything that happened in North Carolina.
The Avett Brothers. Source: Darren Kataja.
It's kind of a shame that a predictable experience could be so uplifting, but let's run through some of the finer moments North Carolina enjoyed last year:
- Agonizing UNC loss in NCAA Men's Basketball Championship (which I'm stil not over and probably never will be)
- Soulless Super Bowl performance by the Carolina Panthers followed up by an equally soulless 2016 season
- Clemson loss in the NCAA Football Championship (included to lessen the obviousness of my UNC bias)
- Grayson Allen still existing and playing for Duke (included to restore the obviousness of my UNC bias)
- J. Cole still being frustratingly mediocre and vapid -- like seriously, I saw him live with the hope that he'd change my mind, and it was like watching a below average actor give 60% effort at a dress rehearsal
- The incumbent governor and state legislature pulling drastic measures to strip rights from minorities
- The incumbent governor and state legislature relentlessly defending said measures despite national backlash and tangible negative consequences for the state, including hundreds of lost jobs, millions of dollars of lost economic output, the NBA moving its All-Star game out of the state, and the ACC and NCAA following suit with similar events
- The incumbent governor and state legislature handling the gubernatorial election results so poorly that the state is no longer considered a democracy
So, uh, not great. And yeah, experiencing a finely-tuned performance of talented musicians sharing a positive message felt like a huge win. They opened with "Head Full Of Doubt/Heart Full Of Promise", and the crowd yelled along to the line "your life doesn't change by the man that's elected." The year two thousand and sixteen made me doubt whether that is true, but I appreciated the opportunity to lose myself in a room full of people who belive that.
Thank you, Avett Brothers. Screw you, two thousand and sixteen.
Goodbye, 2016. Source: Darren Kataja.
Here are some good Avett Brothers lyrics for your consideration.
Things change and get strange with the passing of time. It's happening, right now, to you.
Be loud, let your colors show.
Souls like the wings
Spreading out away from bad memories
Make us capable of taking off and landing
Alive with understanding
My heart is in the puppet box, and Satan pulls the strings