performed May 14 at Starwood Amphitheatre
held May 17 at 3rd & Lindsley
Last Friday night, we made our way to Starwood Amphitheatre for a night of enduring adult soft-rock, hammering rain and, for a few songs, aging ego on display.
We weren't alive when Fleetwood Mac first became mega-popular with the album Rumors, but we vaguely remember the big comeback during the Clinton inauguration in '93. It wasn't until a few years later, when we saw the Fleetwood Mac installment of Behind the Music, that we got hooked on the music and the band's story; the love triangles and the copious amounts of cocaine intrigued us.
We settled into our pavilion seats while everyone around usmostly middle-aged couples wearing matching Fleetwood Mac T-shirtswere already drunk and whistling when Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham made it to the stage. After the set got going with the predictable crowd-pleaser "The Chain," a couple of our seat buddies got into a quick tiff about the etiquette of concert watchingsit or stand? There were a few minutes of intense, petty bickering and a few index fingers pointed, but it didn't escalate beyond temporarily annoying us until the guy behind us smoked a cigar.
By the middle of the set, it was raining heavily. The crowd on the lawn was prepared with ponchos and blankets, and for the rest of the evening they hunkered down close to the pavilion. The night progressed with a wide-ranging set, as the band sandwiched classics like "Rhiannon" between new material like "Say You Will," "Peacekeeper" and other songs we didn't recognize. Each band member played up his or her public persona with detailed attention: During several lengthy costume changes, Nicks appeared onstage in long black dresses with sparkly fringed shawls; the drum-kit camera revealed a wide-eyed, crazy-looking Mick Fleetwood; John McVie was noticeably unnoticeable the entire evening; and Buckingham paraded onstage through a few meticulous guitar solos that should have been cool but instead were boring. They felt more like an attempt to inflate his ego than flashes of mesmerizing guitar workhe cemented this impression when he walked around the stage hugging his guitar and pounding his chest with his fist, in what appeared to be an act of self-adoration.
The set ended with "Go Your Own Way," and as we trekked through the pouring rain out to the free parking, we could hear "Don't Stop" for the encore. (As wet as we were, we didn't stop.) Besides the heavy rain and the pack of obnoxious concert-goers, it was a decent way to spend a Friday evening. We're sure our parents would've enjoyed it, too.
On Monday night, looking for a change of pace from the Nashville hipster rock scene, we decided to tap into our political side and headed to 3rd and Lindsley for the MoveOn.org benefit. Dubbed "democracy in action," MoveOn began as an effort to "censure President Clinton and Move On to pressing issues facing the nation." After Sept. 11, 2001, the organization started its popular Web site, MoveOn.org, to get regular people to become more informed in political matters. What better reason to get some bands together, bump ticket prices up to $25, and have a rockin' good time?
Well, actually a lot could have been better. The ticket price could have been lower, and the opening bands could have been youngerand maybe then some people would have shown up. Instead, we found ourselves in a room sporadically filled with middle-aged liberals who just wanted to give the organization their money and leavewhich is ultimately fine, considering that's the purpose of a benefit, but it killed the spirit of what could have been a passionate community uprising.
With multiple songwriting awards under her belt, and stars such as Patty Loveless, Faith Hill and Bryan Adams making her songs into hits, Gretchen Peters has no reason to perform herself other than for the love of it. It's this drive to share and inspire that guides her to churn her heart out with her soothing voice, yet point-blank lyrics. Peter's all-black outfitsave for a white peace sign on her chestsolidified dark lyrics about domestic violence and everyday struggles. Accompanied only by her acoustic guitar, her kind and Southern voice was pleasant, yet generic, resulting in a numbing catalyst for her songs' messages.
A slight and nervous MoveOn.org co-founder Laura Dawn gave a compelling speech about why, as one drunken cowboy eloquently put it, "Bush sucks." In an attempt to incite activism, Dawn shared her passion for MoveOn.org and its messages. We then watched "Bush in 30 Seconds" commercials made by MoveOn.org members. Though thoroughly entertaining and informative, by the 15th one we'd seen enough.
While 3rd and Lindsley's tables were full through Dawn's speech, the middle-aged crowd emptied as main attraction dada took the stage. MoveOn.org must have been hoping to gain a younger audience by booking such a hip, college-radio-friendly band, but the hefty door price must've scared the poor college crowd away. dada made the most of the meager attendance, though they stormed through their set list and didn't interact much with the audience.
dada straddle many genres. At times they play alt-countrytwangy, folksy, the image of rolling hills lingering on your mindyet at others they're rockin' and funky, with a spacey jam factor. Together, the boys of dada look much like they sound: a hip cowboy, a Goth rocker and a '70s hipster. Like their looks, dada's members all sang in different tunes, never in harmony, giving their choruses many dynamics. They utilized influences from across the board, used a beer bottle to play the guitar, and took the opportunity to take that extra time between songs.
Bassist Joie Calio played an obviously planned "spontaneous acoustic set" and filled a request mid-set from one of the modern-day groupies in attendance. Though Calio was reluctant, singer and guitarist Michael Gurley egged him on: "There are six people here and one of them requested a song...so do yourself a favor and do it." The band completed an instrumental cover of "Eleanor Rigby," followed by their "hit" "Any Day the Wind Blows." The crowd may not have been much, but they were appreciative and bobbed along in their chairs, even to the extensive instrumental excursions.