Next Big Nashville 09 Friday Recap




Friday night confronted me with one of those scheduling dilemmas that Next Big Nashville seems to torture you with every year. Do I head down to The Rutledge to catch an increasingly rare appearance by Venus Hum, or head to Exit/In to see my absolute favorite local artist, Cortney Tidwell. Normally scarcity would win out over favoritism, but since I was meeting friends for The Black Angels headlining set, it meant spending the night on Elliston. That also meant I would miss Lylas at The Anchor later that night, but the lineup at Exit/In was so strong it was hard to complain.

Bear In Heaven kicked off the evening with a set of new wave inspired psychedelia, or maybe it was psychedelia inspired new wave. You could tell the moment you walked in the room they were a Brooklyn band, but you also knew right away that they were pretty damn good. They did suffer from what turned out to be a recurring problem for Exit/In bands over the weekend... vocals being absolutely buried in the mix. The sound at Nashville's grandaddy of rock clubs is usually spot on, so I don't know what caused the sporadic issues over the weekend. Next up was Cortney Tidwell, who luckily didn't suffer from the same problem. I've written about her a lot on here over the years, and her set Friday night did nothing to diminish her spot as my fave local. Pulling heavily from the recently released Boys, her set built in intensity until the thundering climax of "17 Horses," which literally gave me goosebumps. How the girl doesn't have a US record label is surely one of life's great mysteries.

Between sets we made a quick run across the street to catch the tail end of
Twin Tigers set. The Scene described them last week as "...like The Fiery Furnaces playing from the bottom of a gloomy, reverbed-out U2 cave." The two songs we did hear were enough to make us wish we had gotten to see more of it. Luckily we'll get the chance, as the band will be returning to Nashville to play the Basement next month. We'll definitely be delving more into them before then. Back across the street, we caught Disappears, who were dripping with both reverb and sweat.

I got to see the Black Angels play at the Exit/In
last year, so I had a pretty good idea what to expect. And even though they were missing the light show and video projector they had on their last trek through town, they still put on a hell of a show. Opening with "You On the Run," their 75 minute set made us feel like it was 1969 all over again. Their droning version of psychedelic rock is like Altamont's answer to the Summer of Love... dark and foreboding, with a hint of menace.

The fact that the Exit/In was running forty-five minutes behind schedule all night meant we didn't make it across the street to catch Eureka Gold before they were finished, but there was still another night of rock and roll to be had...

The Black Angels - "The First Vietnam War" (mp3) from Passover
Bear In Heaven - "Wholehearted Mess" (mp3) from Beast Rest Forth Mouth
Cortney Tidwell - "17 Horses" (mp3) from Boys

photo of Bear In Heaven by Tyge O'Donnell

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