The Decemberists Nail their Set at the Ryman

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The Decemberists tear into opening song “A Singer Addresses His Audience”

 

Let it be known that when I last saw the Decemberists back in 2011, I successfully predicted that their first song would be “Apology Song” off their debut EP 5 Songs. Thus, when I predicted that they’d begin this show with the very appropriate “A Singer Addresses His Audience,” the Decemberists didn’t let me down and I am now two-for-two on my predictions. The Decemberists have never let me down: they’ve pumped out quality album after quality album, excellent live show after excellent live show. And Monday night, led by charismatic frontman Colin Meloy, was no different, even if Meloy and Co. had to struggle against an at times apathetic crowd at Ryman Auditorium.

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I Hope I Age Like Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder kept Bridgestone rocking past midnight last night.
Stevie Wonder kept Bridgestone rocking past midnight last night.

When my mom found out Stevie Wonder was coming to Nashville, she wanted me to go so badly that she helped me pay for the tickets.  Not that I wouldn’t have tried to go anyways.  Stevie is 64 years old, so who knows how long he’ll be touring?  And word was that he would be playing his seminal 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life in full.

From the moment I found my seat at Bridgestone Arena I knew the show was going to be an extravagant production.  On the stage sat two drum kits, two percussion arrays, seats for a ten-piece string ensemble and six-piece brass section, risers for a horde of backing vocalists, several keyboards and guitars waiting to be played, and of course Stevie’s setup front and center: his signature Hohner Clavinet and a Yamaha electric grand piano.

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Years & Years is Electrifying Britain. Next Stop, America.

 

Years & Years plays at London club Heaven, 3/6/15.
Years & Years plays at London club Heaven, 3/6/15.

Like my colleague Brandon Bout, I made sure to catch a live show over Spring Break.  For me, the destination was London and the band was electro-pop trio Years & Years.

I had heard of the group from a fellow Lightning 100 intern in December.  She had spent time working in Britain and assured me that they were on the verge of blowing up across the pond.  Her promise was confirmed when I learned that Years & Years had won the BBC’s prestigious Sound of 2015 poll–an award won in previous years by such acts as Sam Smith, Adele, and Ellie Goulding.  So when I saw that the band would be playing in the British capital during my stay there, I convinced my traveling companions that we needed to go to the concert.

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Spending Spring Break with Viet Cong at The Echoplex

Recently, a friend of mine has gotten me into Viet Cong, the Canadian post-punk band that just released their self-titled debut album in January.  So when I stayed with that same friend in Los Angeles over Spring Break, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see the band while they were in town at one of LA’s fine venues, The Echoplex, last Friday night.  And what a show it was.  I decided to spontaneously purchase my ticket the same day as the show, and I couldn’t have made a better decision on how to spend my last night in LA.

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