Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NBN Saturday Night Wrap Up

Saturday night started out a little faster than the rest of the week, as I was already feeling cozy and more at home at the 5 Spot, first stop of the night, on the one night of venue hopping.

We arrived right before Hands Down Eugene started playing (missing Bows and Arrows, who I’m excited tosee open for Dent May at the end of the month), running into a few Murfreesboro alum (HDE is from here and has done some stuff with Grand Palace records) and just chilling to their new songs, which have a similar vibe to the earlier tunes. I was slightly let down to not hear any songs I recognized after listening to their full length quite a lot, but change is a good thing and they need to put an album out asap. That aside, they haven’t played out a lot lately, so I was very happy they did play and I got to check it out.

Next up at 5 Spot was And the Relatives, who I finally got to check out after a close friend wouldn’t stop twittering about them. Well, those tweets were right. There’s a definite taste of Dinosaur Jr. in the songs(but not too heavy or crunchy) and just an overall good rock and roll sound. Once they played a few songs, with Caitlin Rose singing on a few different ones, most of the folks who were at the show, really for the music, were on their feet and in front of the stage. Keep an eye on And the Relatives, folks.

I was admittedly a little excited about the next concept: riding the shuttle, which I never was informed was going to be at 5 Spot, to Mercy Lounge. Of course, as NBN is never boring, neither was the ride across the river. Let’s just say there were guys dancing in the middle of the bus and a group sing along to the song “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. I won’t be forgetting that one anytime soon…

Once we unloaded in front of Mercy Lounge, Kyle Andrews was in his last few songs and I made my way to the front to scope out a spot for the Protomen set (I know how their crowds tend to work- they’re younger and hardcore). I was right to go ahead and get up front, seeing as the flood of X-ed up (on their hands, folks) were up front pretty quick.


I got in the normal spot I nab at Mercy and was very pleased by the new tunes and new guys in the band, who I hadn’t seen play since both of them, Cobra T. Washington and Sir Robert Bakker, joined the band as of late. The new songs sound awesome live, especially Dr. Wiley’s vocals on “The Hounds” (you may or may not be able to link him back to another band, say, Cheer Up Charlie Daniels…).

The boys and girls closed out their set with a new cover, the Roy Orbison (Celine Dion covered) “I Drove All Night”, which somewhat confused the audience, but they’ll adapt. A valiant effort was presented by the band and they continue to be some of my favorite people in all of Middle Tennessee.

Hey Penny closed out the night and officially blew my mind. I had never gotten to see them, always opting out to leave shows early or missing them for a random reason here or there, but- man- I’m glad I saw them finally. I’d checked out some of their vimeo videos but that doesn’t do them justice: this band is a party.

The kind of party you see on tv that can’t really happen in reality (or, they could be compared to the kind of party from “The Office” last season or two, where they have the party room and they go down and dance…I think that kind would be fun). Hey Penny brings the funk but not in an overwhelming way, but you will dance if you see them live (or if you even just listen to their “Cop Car” EP), and then their songs will get stuck in your head. And then you’ll notice their little quirky, awesome touches, such as their stage set up of backdrops and old tvs with choreographed static and deers mouthing along to the words.

See, you don’t believe me. But trust me- check it out for yourself. They were absolutely the best band to close out NBN at Mercy and as soon as everyone thought they were done- they kept going.

Hey Penny's Encore

The trio moved over to a “side stage”, where a string quartet was set up and singer Ben Elkins, along with the awesome back up singers of the band, led the audience in Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”, while passing a strand of Christmas lights over their heads (see the photos to get the jist). Ben sang one more song, via megaphone, with the string quartet and then a projector (old school, 3rd grade style) turned on, projecting the lyrics to Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” onto a white backdrop. Guitarist Kevin Bevil jumped on top of something with an acoustic guitar and a venue wide sing along was begun.

After witnessing the lengths these guys went to, to entertain and showing all the creativity they have, I have to say whole heartedly: they are the best band in Nashville.

And with that, dear friends, another year of Next Big Nashville was in the books. All of the folks at NBN put together amazing shows, the bands who played them were amazing and I have to say, I can’t say that I can’t wait until 2010’s edition of the fest- I’m still trying to recover from this weekend.

Give it a few more days, though, and I know I will be saying “isn’t it time for NBN again?”

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