Next Big Nashville 08 Thursday Recap

When the schedule for Next Big Nashville came out, my first thought was how front loaded it was. It seemed that most of the bands I really liked were all playing on Thursday. This made for some tough decisions, but my goal for the weekend was to try to focus as much as possible on seeing bands that I wasn't as familiar with, or at least hadn't seen live yet. Unfortunately this meant passing up an obscenely awesome lineup at The Rutledge, but as great as the night turned out it was hard to be disappointed.

My original plan was to begin the evening by checking out some of the experimental lineup at the Anchor. Hollow Ox kicked off the evening with their trippy space rock, playing in front of a projection screen that combined with the setting in an old church made a fantastic visual companion to their sonic atmospherics. Unfortunately I only made it through one song because it was so fucking hot. Apparently the Anchor doesn't have air conditioning, and the fans they had blowing just weren't cutting it. I feel bad for the bands who were scheduled there that night, not only because the oppressive heat surely chased off any potential crowd, but also because I can't imagine having to perform in temperatures like that.

Wanting to beat a hasty retreat to somewhere with adequate AC, I headed for the Cannery, where L.A.'s Run Run Run was halfway through their set of ultra-polished alt-rock. They had a fifth member onstage running an impressive light show, although it was a bit odd seeing that kind of production in front of smallish early evening crowd.

The the bulk of my Thursday was spent shuffling back and forth between The End and Exit/In. At the former, Kindergarten Circus played their high school punk with the kind of enthusiasm that only teenagers can pull off, and Velcro Stars followed up with superb set of their infectious indie-pop ear candy. Hotpipes didn't exactly mesh with my goal of seeing bands I wasn't familiar with, since I'd seen them just five days prior. But I also didn't feel like I was cheating myself by seeing them again, because they were entirely awesome. Glossary closed out my evening on the Rock Block with an insanely great set of southern flavored rock.

I figured that I'd spend most of the evening at the Grand Palace showcase at The End, only popping over to the Exit/In to catch a couple of songs during set changes, but the bands playing the big room were all too good to play hit and run, and I ended up staying through the end of all of their sets. Paper Rival played a set of tight indie rock with lyrics that seemed to focus on big themes. The Deep Vibration might have won the award for the dumbest band name of the festival, but their music more than made up for it, coming off like Gram Parsons fronting Crazy Horse. Their set was incredibly well received, and apparently they wanted to thank the crowd by playing past their allotted set time. When turning off the lights and the PA didn't get the message across that it was time to stop, the soundman walked up front and cut the onstage power. The biggest surprise of the evening came courtesy of Skyblazer, another in a seemingly endless line of side projects from the Infinity Cat family. Comprised of members of JEFF the Brotherhood and Cake Bake Betty, their set of psychedelic jams was jaw droppingly awesome, like Black Sabbath with a chick singer. The only thing missing was a liquid light show.

It being a work night, I decided that I'd call it an early evening and started heading for home just before midnight, but at the last minute decided to pop into the 5 Spot to catch the tail end of Totally Snake. They must have started early, because I walked in just as their set was ending. But before the crowd could begin to dissipate, Party Cannon crashed the stage for an unannounced performance. Obviously more concerned with the party part of their name than actually playing music, they started spraying the crowd with silly string and tossing poppers on the stage in between short bursts of what I guess they call songs. The crowd was eating it up until someone lit up and entire handfull of sparklers which filled the club with smoke and sent most of the crowd scrambling outside gasping for air. And it was on that note that I called it a night.

Glossary - "Little Caney" (mp3)
Velcro Stars - "Cascade" (mp3)
Hollow Ox - "Badminton In December" (mp3)

Photo of Glossary by Lance Conzett. His Next Big Nashville gallery can be seen here.

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I envy you free lifestyle. You are so passionate and knowledgable about music. I think its awesome.Glad you had fun seeing all those bands.
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