Next Big Nashville 08 Friday Recap
Friday night's Next Big Nashville festivities got started with free booze and killer views at the pre-show reception at ICON. After two hours spent comparing notes with bloggers and band members, and getting an early start on the evening's drinking, it was definitely a good night to take advantage of the free shuttle service. I'm happy to report that they only missed on their "every 15 minutes" promise once. It's definitely the best way to get around at NBN, especially since Metro's finest were seen out in full force throughout the weekend.
Night two featured quite a bit of club hopping, but again focused primarily on dodging cars walking across Elliston. Reid & Wright were the first act of the evening, kicking off the Infinity Cat showcase with their experimental noise. I always learned if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything. So... later in the evening Cake Bake Betty took the stage at Exit/In for an engaging set of skewed piano pop.
Across the street at The End, the Birmingham based Skybucket Records were showcasing their label's rootsy Southern pop. Duquette Johnston turned in a solid set of alt-country, while Through The Sparks leaned more towards John Lennon's post-Beatles output. But of the three bands on the bill that I saw, the one who stole the show was the Dexateens, whose "Alabama Rock 'N Roll" sounded something like if Lynyrd Skynrd had jumped in a time machine and became an indie rock band instead of classic rock staples. Their three guitar attack was catchy as hell and ridiculously fun.
In between the Elliston club hopping, I caught the shuttle down to 12th & Porter where I was supposed to meet a friend. He never showed, but I did catch Ferraby Lionheart's solo acoustic set. While his indie folk tunes were great, it was definitely the kind of thing I'd probably have enjoyed more during this week's Americana Music Association festival. It was just a bit too mellow to be stuck in the middle of a rock showcase.
As the clock turned towards midnight, it was time to head down to the Cannery for Superdrag's headlining set. Starting early, the guys were on fire as they tore through a set packed with old favorites and a couple of new jams. After an all too brief forty-five minutes, they left the crowd desperately chanting for an encore, but all they got for their efforts was the cocktail jazz on the PA turned up louder and louder.
When I got to the afterparty at City Hall, The Dynamites were already well into their set. The band was tight as hell, laying down fat funky grooves and slower soul jams. Frontman Charles Walker was working the crowd like the veteran soulman he is, equal parts smooth crooner and R&B shouter. But despite the sizable crowd getting down in front of the stage, the room had kind of a weird vibe. There was a whole lot of weary mingling going on in the back as well, probably attributable to the fact that most of the crowd had been club hopping for at least six hours at that point. It was pushing 2 a.m. when I finally called it a night, and the band was still wailing into the night.
Dexateens - "What Money Means" (mp3)
Through The Sparks - "Falling Out Of Favor With The Neighbors" (mp3)
Photo of The Dynamites by Chris Wage. His NBN galleries can been seen here, here, here and here.