Next Big Nashville 09 Saturday Recap
My final night of Next Big Nashville didn't get off to the start I had hoped for. After a pregame nap that lasted about an hour and half longer than planned, I headed out about 9:30 and figured I'd catch the tail end of Mikky Ekko's set at 12th and Porter. But when I got there, his set had evidently ended early, and the next band was already setting up their gear. So I made my way to the Exit/In with my sights on seeing the last half of Other Girls set. What I got to see was them tearing down. With my count now 0-2, I walked over to The End just in time to catch the last minute and a half of Denny & The Jets set. After an hour and three different venues, I'd managed to see absolutely no one. Last year set a precedent of NBN shows running pretty much on time, but never in my life would I have expected three different venues to be running ahead of schedule.
My luck changed eventually though. Matt Friction and the Cheap Shots thankfully waited until their scheduled time to go on, so I did catch the former Pink Spiders frontman's new band. They've got all the pop melodies and catchy hooks of his old outfit, but they lean more towards Ryan Adams territory than the Spiders punky brashness. Part two of the evening's "night of the former major label frontpersons" featured ex-Be Your Own Pet singer Jemina Pearl. Her solo material was pretty similar to the BYOP stuff... attitude heavy punk rock jams, played with the same amount of energy but with a little more finesse.
Other than dodging cars on Elliston, I also managed to hop the shuttle to catch some of The Protomen's set at Mercy Lounge. They were thrilling an absolutely packed house with their Blade Runner meets Bat Out Of Hell opera rock. It seemed like the spectacle took precedence over the music, but the crowd was absolutely eating it up. Jim Steinman would be proud.
Infinity Cat shows often feel more like an excuse to party than an actual concert, and the label's showcase at The End Saturday nite was no exception. Unfortunately Daniel Pujol fell into the same "end of the set" curse the plagued me earlier in the night, but I managed to catch substantial bits of the rest of the bill's ramshackle garage rock. Natural Child played ragged punk rock, while Heavy Cream were a bit like a bunch of kids who broke into a music store and were trying to squeeze in as much fun as possible before the cops showed up. Capping of the night was one of the worst kept secrets of the weekend, a "surprise" appearance by JEFF The Brotherhood. Love 'em or hate 'em, their minimalist stoner rock had the sweaty crowd jumping. Towards the end of their set there was a massive surge of stage divers, though some of them found unwilling helpers in the crowd and quickly made their way to the floor (check out The Opening Acts for pics). As the last notes of their set ran out, opener Sound Tribe Sector CY made a return appearance as the stage filled up with other band members and fans, all chanting along with his Casio powered keyboard jams. Lights were swinging, people were singing, and I'm sure mine weren't the only ears that were ringing. The wild ending made a fitting coda for a fantastic weekend.
JEFF The Brotherhood - "Screaming Banshee" (mp3) from The Boys R Back In Town
Jemina Pearl - "Looking For Trouble" (mp3) from Break It Up
photo of JEFF the Brotherhood courtesy of Next Big Nashville