Concert Reviews

Icelandic Indie-Rockers, Kaleo, Start Tour In Nashville


Whether it be the unnaturally warm February weather or the surprisingly (or should I say unsurprisingly) sold out show for a relatively new and developing band, everyone in the jam-packed Mercy Lounge sensed that something big was happening. Chatter was made up of conversation on who is who in the Nashville music scene and the next show people would be attending. Not lost in the conversations was an overwhelming sense of confidence that Kaleo was about to blow up, summed up by a Kentucky native to the right of me who said it was worth the drive and she didn’t think she would see the quartet in such a small, intimate venue ever again. With such a buzz preceding them, the band definitely delivered. Starting with “No Good,” a song picked up for the new HBO original series, Vinyl, the crowd was immediately moving to the blues/rock riffs and grungy vocals.

Sun Seeker: Live at Grimeys

Sun Seeker at Grimey's
Sun Seeker at Grimey’s (from left: Alex Benick, Asher Horton, Ben Parks, Austin Edwards)

Sun Seeker, whose newest single, “Georgia Dust,” has become a Third Man Records favorite, played some of their undeniably catchy and easily lovable tunes at Grimey’s last Saturday.

Tool and Primus Bring Psychedelic Bliss to Bridgestone

I’ll the first to admit that I’m a bit of a fanboy of Tool, and I was definitely a pretty big Primus fan back in the day (I mean, with a bass style like Les Claypool’s, how could I not?), so when I read that the two bands were going to be playing Bridgestone Arena, I did the logical thing and set a reminder on my phone for when to stop paying attention in stats class to buy tickets as they went on sale.  I was a little excited.

Jukebox the Ghost Sneaks In A Nashville Show In Between Snow Days


Jukebox the Ghost managed to plan a perfectly timed show, performing for Nashville on Thursday night and celebrating the rain, as opposed to the snow, that lingered the day before and after. The band brought along Greg Holden to open the show, bracing the stage similarly to how Passenger did a few years ago, with just his songs and guitar to carry the mood. Although many voices were heard singing along to the Brit’s 2015 single, “Boys in the Street,” those just hearing him for the first time seemed pleasantly surprised based on the chatter in between sets. His stage presence paralleled his music, honest and heartfelt.

Concert Recap: Hibou & Metric

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Before we all stuff ourselves in the spirit of celebration, here’s a belated concert review/interview.

Hibou & Metric – 11/18 – Marathon Music Works

Hibou (
Hibou (

When’s the last time you went to a concert and the music started ON TIME? That’s what happened last week when Hibou opened for Metric at Marathon Music Works. I wandered in around 8:02 thinking I was early but the band had already begun. I don’t know about you all, but waiting for a concert to begin is my personal hell. Thank you, Hibou, for your punctuality; I promise the audience appreciates it. Hibou played a solid set of songs from their debut album (also called Hibou). I definitely recommend “Above Us” and “Shutter Song”. The group certainly has a lot of energy. Michel, in particular, likes to spin around in circles with his guitar. Above all, they seemed to really enjoy themselves, which I think is the most important thing. After their set, I walked over to the singer and arranged an impromptu interview with the band.

Nest, Alex G, and Title Fight’s Chaotic, Sold-Out Show at The End

Alex G at The End (10/29)
Alex G at The End (10/29)

Nest—a local Nashville favorite—Alex G, and Title Fight make for quite the trifecta. It’s no wonder the show sold out rather quickly with a venue as intimate as The End. It’s just as well for those who managed to snag tickets: there wasn’t a dull moment in the small space throughout the show, culminating in Title Fight’s all-out chaotic performance that garnered some of the most intense and committed crowd-surfing I’ve ever witnessed.

CHVRCHES gives impressive second Nashville performance

Courtesy of Lance Conzett, Nashville Scene
Courtesy of Lance Conzett, Nashville Scene

I feel like I seem to always go to concerts when I’ve gotten minimal to no sleep the night before. This past Tuesday, was no different; when I had finally wrapped up my (incredibly poorly written) lab report at 6 AM after working through the night, I was pretty hesitant about seeing Scottish band CHVRCHES at Marathon Music Works that rainy evening. After a brief hour and a half nap and more cups of coffee than I would like to admit, I decided to forego another couple hours of sleep and make my way to Marathon around 9 PM.

of Montreal Gives Intense, Impressive Mercy Lounge Performance

of Montreal's Kevin Barnes at the Mercy Lounge
of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes at the Mercy Lounge

Of Montreal has solidified a well-deserved reputation for being a band best enjoyed live—not just for their intense light effects and dancing characters, but also because of Kevin Barnes’ engaging onstage presence and captivating antics. And the Athens-based group’s latest Nashville appearance did not disappoint, with dog costumes, crowd-kissing, and one ephemeral image of Donald Trump.

Ben Sollee and Mother Falcon at City Winery – Exclusive Interview

Ben Sollee at City Winery October 12th

On Monday evening, City Winery Nashville was graced with the presence of Ben Sollee and Mother Falcon, who performed the second show of their collaborative tour The Fall Migration. Ben Sollee, cellist, singer, composer extraordinaire, took the stage with a “super-band” of 14 (ish) musicians: himself, drummer Jordan Ellis, and the members of Austin-based orchestral band Mother Falcon. Together, they opened the show with “Something, Somewhere, Sometime” a track off Sollee’s 2010 album Dear Companion. In addition to being a talented musician, Sollee is a passionate environmentalist. The aforementioned album, Dear Companion, is entirely dedicated to the problem of Mountaintop Removal coal mining.

Ben Sollee and Mother Falcon performed their 90 minute set with a conversational fluidity. It seemed as if these acts had been playing together for years; it was incredible how such a large group of musicians could be so perfectly in sync. The “super band” lived up to the name, producing a full sound which filled the cavernous room.

Though a large portion of the show had both acts on stage, each took their turn in spotlight. A highlight was when Sollee played a few songs solo, accompanied by a drummer using a wooden box as an instrument. Even on a seemingly empty stage, Ben Sollee is a captivating performer – his charismatic personality translates to his music. He kept the crowd engaged by telling stories between songs. From following a redhead to California to crashing a karaoke bar with his bandmates, he created a personal connection with his audience. The crowd even convinced Sollee to reenact the night in the karaoke bar by playing their reggae cover of Prince’s “When Doves Cry”.

Lake Street Dive Goes Down Smooth At Ascend Amphitheater

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Lake Street Dive graced Nashville with their presence yet again this past Saturday at the beautiful Ascend Amphitheater. Unfortunately for the Lake Street Dive fan, however, they were only opening for Grace Potter. Luckily the group drove a large and enthusiastic crowd that showed up early. Despite their position in the set, Lake Street Dive owned the stage and played a fantastic hour of music.

Concert of the Week: Glass Animals


This Thursday, October 8th, you have the opportunity to see an incredible live performance. Glass Animals will be playing at Marathon Music Works. I can assure you this is a show you don’t want to miss.

I saw Glass Animals this summer, back home in DC at the 9:30 club. It was the night before my 21st birthday and I look back fondly, knowing that was the last time I ever had to wear unsightly X-es on the back of my hands. Glass Animals really brought their A-game that night. I often use the term “high-energy” to describe exciting concerts, but that doesn’t even begin to cover it. This British band relies heavily on synthesizers, creating a dream-like atmosphere at their shows. Dave Bayley, the lead singer, is the stand-out member of the group. He gets so into the music, the intensity and passion are just infectious.

Pilgrimage Festival Sets High Bar in its Inaugural Year

Cage the Elephant's Matt Shultz showing off his acrobatics at Pilgrimage
Cage the Elephant’s Matt Shultz showing off his acrobatics at Pilgrimage

The forecast for Saturday in Franklin was rainy and bleak, hardly the weather thousands of eager Tennesseans wanted for the inaugural Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin. Big names like Cage the Elephant, Iron & Wine, and Wilco dominated Saturday.

The two-day event likely seemed quite cozy to seasoned veterans of the summer festival circuit, with only two main stages (and two smaller ones) and a schedule that frustratingly overlapped nearly every performer with another. Yet, the lineup itself made up for it.

Celebrating an R.I.P. 2 My Youth at the Ryman

The Neighbourhood's black and white color scheme and beachy light display
The Neighbourhood’s black and white color scheme worked well with the beachy light display

Last Friday, September 25, while most of my fellow Nashville concertgoers were headed to the first night of Taylor Swift’s 1989 stop at Bridgestone Arena, a friend and I were on our way to the Ryman to see West Coast indie pop/rock group, The Neighbourhood. My friend had never been to the Ryman, so this summer when tickets went on sale at a fairly low price we decided to just go for it (little did we know that Sufjan Stevens would be announcing a show there merely 2 months later…sigh). The Neighbourhood seemed like a strange choice for the Ryman, as they had certainly lost a good deal of relevance (and not to mention, airplay) since the release of their first album in 2013. Despite that, I was excited mostly to see if they could pull off their unique experimental tracks live.

Turbo Fruits’ Intimate House Show with The Gills and JAWWS

Turbo Fruits
Turbo Fruits

“I remember when you couldn’t walk a block here alone at night, if you know what I mean,” Jonas Stein said into the mic at Turbo Fruits’ house show appearance Wednesday night. They played with The Gills—it was their album release party—and JAWWS, two enthusiastically chaotic, too-loud-for-the-living-room acts. The show, as Stein hinted, was in an up-and-coming neighborhood in a house that you’d expect to be a tad too small for the Nashville group (who have played for crowds both locally and around the national festival circuit), but the location was good for the modest hump day crowd.

Best Coast Brings California Vibes to Exit/In

Bethany Consentino, Bobb Bruno (far right) and band members
Bethany Cosentino (center), Bobb Bruno (far right) and band members bringing California to Nashville

Although I had heard of Best Coast prior to coming to college, ironically, it wasn’t until I left the west coast that I started to listen to them. Whether it was an actual appreciation for their music or just the nostalgia I felt about my Southern California hometown that piqued my interest, I do not know. Best Coast is technically a duo between lead singer/guitarist Bethany Cosentino and guitarist Bobb Bruno with a few other band members brought in seemingly just for touring. Formed in Los Angeles in 2009, almost every other song they make is an ode to the stereotypical Southern California lifestyle.

ZZ Ward Brings Love and War to Marathon

ZZ Ward perfromance on September 4th

My appreciation for ZZ is something that has flourished for a couple years now.

During the winter of my junior year of high school, I had the unique opportunity to meet and be mentored by Isaac Slade, the lead singer of The Fray. After talking with Slade about music production and the beautiful madness of it all, I was given tickets to his show that same evening. I was stoked to see The Fray perform and to sing-scream along to “How to Save a Life”, but later found that it wasn’t Slade who would be the most memorable performer of the night but instead ZZ Ward. I’d never seen or heard of her before then but ZZ was opening for the Fray and had a set of about 45 minutes. During that time, she sang the soulful and fiery songs on her then newly released album, Til the Casket Drops. It could’ve been her jazzy style or her actual mink coat and gold chain that appealed to me – of which I’m not sure I loved more – but I was a fan immediately.

Celebrating the End of Classes with Smallpools, Grizfolk, and Vinyl Theatre at Exit/In

Last night Smallpools played Exit/In for the second time in the past six months, this time promoting their new album LOVETAP!
Last night Smallpools played Exit/In for the second time in the past six months, this time promoting their new album LOVETAP!

At 3pm yesterday, I turned in the final assignment of my college career. Partially to celebrate and partially to distract myself from the terror of facing the adult world, I headed over to Exit/In with my friend Sparling to see Smallpools rock the joint. My sister loves the band and had turned me on to their music, so making her jealous was another great reason to go to the show.

We arrived at 7:30 to find the half-full floor dominated by people without the over-21 hand stamps. Any illusion I had of being able to escape feeling old vanished immediately. Pitying the venue for what promised to be a slow night of alcohol sales, I grabbed a Shiner Bock and snagged a spot in the crowd just behind a couple of girls taking selfies. Naturally, Sparling and I photobombed as many as we could.

The Decemberists Nail their Set at the Ryman

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.

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.