For those who missed Springsteen's galvanizing Sommet Center show last year, as well as his epic takeover of this year's Bonnaroo festival, this may just be your last chance to rectify the situation. Even if you did manage to catch one or both shows, this upcoming appearance comes with a unique bonus: a performance of his signature album Born to Run straight through in its entirety. One of the final three shows on Springsteen's Working on a Dream tour, the Nashville gig will only be the third—and likely final—time Springsteen and his E Street cohorts attempt this. In fact, there is nervous chatter among the Springsteen faithful that with iconic saxman Clarence Clemons pushing 70, this could be one of the last shows for the E Street Band as we know it.• The Walkmen (Sept. 27, Mercy Lounge) Aughts indie darlings The Walkmen's sweaty shindig at The Basement last September was one of Nashville's best rock shows of the year. There's no reason to believe that this upcoming Mercy Lounge appearance will be anything short of mind-blowing.
• B.B. King (Sept. 28-29, B.B. King's Blues Club) How B.B. King's Blues Club ever managed to book the actual B.B. King is anyone's guess.
• Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings (Oct. 1, Public Square Plaza) Perhaps the highpoint of Lightning 100's new LiveOntheGreen concert series—the perfect pick-me-up for people who still miss Dancin' in the District—is this headlining gig by one of the most blazing live acts of the decade. Thanks to neo-R&B atom-bomb Jones, we need no longer develop time-travel technology to revisit the days of Ike & Tina.
• Them Crooked Vultures (Oct. 5, War Memorial Auditorium) This newly minted supergroup featuring Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones play one of their first U.S. shows in Nashville. 'Nuff said.
• Andrew Bird w/St. Vincent (Oct. 10, The Ryman) While it would've been nice of Andrew Bird to throw his European tour mate Cortney Tidwell on the bill, we'll settle for the Kate Bush-meets-XTC sounds of St. Vincent.
• Creed (Oct. 14, Sommet Center) If you are one of the few who didn't immediately skip to the next entry on this list, then shamelessly welcome Scott Stapp & Co.'s "triumphant" return to the stage with arms wide open.
• Kings of Leon (Oct. 16, Sommet Center) An actual rock band from Nashville is headlining our local Enormodome! This must be seen to be believed.
• KISS (Oct. 28, Sommet Center) What better way to gear up for Halloween than an evening with KISS? Neither Peter Criss nor Ace Frehley is in the current lineup of the band, but they've been replaced by guys who wear their makeup. So it's all good, right?
• Pretty Lights (Oct. 28, Exit/In) If you're planning on taking ecstasy this fall, this appearance by the Colorado electro-sheik duo is the place to do it.
• Jandek (Oct. 30, The Basement) The J.D. Salinger of outsider folk chooses Nashville for one of his rare career performances. Across Middle Tennessee, the jaws of music geeks are still rattling on the floor.
• Leonard Cohen (Nov. 5, TPAC) While tickets to this rare appearance by rock's greatest baritone are pretty pricey—running as high as $252.50—you get what you pay for, such as seeing the Sergio Leone of singer-songwriters perform "Hallelujah" and "Everybody Knows" (while perhaps dipping into his early-'70s Nashville-recorded catalog). Some things are worth a second mortgage. Adam gold
NEXT BIG NASHVILLE
OCT. 7-11, VARIOUS VENUES
Depending on who you talk to, the 2009 edition of Next Big Nashville—our hometown music festival, now in its fourth year—is either smaller than last year or bigger than ever. And in a sense, both are true. On the one hand, yes, there are fewer bands overall this year—150 or so vs. last year's 200-plus, which means that some local bands who've played in years past will have to sit this one out. But the festival has also widened its reach beyond the who's-who-in-town vibe that has defined its existence up to this point.
The Black Angels, who call Austin (site of NBN muse SXSW) home, play NBN this year, while Lucero spearheads the Ramblin' Roadshow and Memphis Revue (a showcase of River City talent) and Brooklyn band Phosphorescent brings their Willie-lovin' ways to town. Perhaps the biggest addition comes in the form of the Next Warped Nashville stage ("Warped" as in Warped Tour) at RCKTWN, which brings the ramen-fueled pop-punk of VersaEmerge and a new-to-NBN teen contingent into the mix.
If this year's broader range of bands and more expansive geographic pull doesn't quite put Next Big Nashville over the hump in its quest to become Mid-South by Southeast, it's certainly a step in the right direction. Next Big Nashville runs Oct. 7-11 at various venues throughout the city, including The 5 Spot, 12th & Porter, The Basement, Exit/In, Mercy Lounge, The Cannery Ballroom and more.
Now: Head over to nextbignashville.net for wristbands ($40, gets you into any show), VIP badges ($100, gets you into any show, plus the NBN conference and VIP events) and individual showcase tickets (prices vary—badge and wristband holders do not need to purchase individual tickets).
Subplot to watch: The Rumble feat. Jemina Pearl. The former Be Your Own Pet singer was lightning rod enough when she lived here, but after alighting in Brooklyn and founding her own band with former BYOP mate John Eatherly, Pearl told Pitchfork: "Nashville's an interesting city but it's one of those places that's better to visit. I'm sure everyone in Nashville's going to be like, 'fuck you,' but I'll say 'fuck you' right back to them." This should make for an interesting homecoming, to say the least. (Saturday, Oct. 10, 8 p.m. at Exit/In.)
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