A solid crowd of ’Villians and ’Boro-dwellers alike got to enjoy a rare treat Saturday night at the new Grand Palace
record store/silk-screen shop/venue in Murfreesboro—The Features
unplugged. Well, half of the band, anyway. Matt Pelham
and Parrish Yaw
opened the evening with a set of lighthearted acoustic versions of songs old and new. Matt displayed impressive multitasking abilities on a few songs, playing a kick drum while strumming guitar and singing. The Mattoid
followed with a set complete with songs about fellatio and polka dancing. Theory 8 Records’ Apollo Up
headlined the evening, bringing an onslaught of riff-driven, in-your-face prog rock. Frontman Jay Leo Phillips’
monstrous guitar tone nearly peeled the skin off our faces. As with most shows at the Grand Palace, DJ Bawston Sean
was in-house to keep our heads bobbing between bands. The atmosphere at this multipurpose loft is unlike any we’ve encountered: as you walk up the stairs it feels like a house party, at least until the show starts, and there’s no stage in the main music room, so the audience stands right in front of the band, making for an intimate experience. In other words, it’s the kind of place you’d want to hang out all night, which is exactly what we did.
A Rouse-ing performance
The Josh Rouse
show at the Belcourt Friday night was beyond sold out—even the guest list was overbooked. When we arrived there were no seats, there was no standing room. Only our powers of persuasion (which may or may not have included some begging and, OK, some whining) assured us passage through the kitchen to the side of the stage, about 20 feet from the man himself. For such a full house, the hush was extraordinary. Outfitted like the sensitive guy from high school English class in a striped sweater and Clarks Wallabees, Rouse weaved a spell, playing solo on a simple set that might best be described as some sort of deconstructed living room: he spent most of the show seated on a chair in the middle of a rug next to a banged-up end table supporting a kitschy Eiffel Tower lamp that emanated soft white light. Six acoustic guitars of various sizes were casually splayed around him on the ground like a wooden phalanx. Among them was a ukulele, which he used for a wonderful, stripped-down version of “Sad Eyes” that ended in a sing-along. The ex-pat (he now lives in Spain) played mostly recent material, including a healthy dose of tracks off Nashville
and quite a few from his upcoming album Subtitulo
(due in March). But our favorite moment of the show might have been the exquisite, almost overwhelming melancholy wafting out of Rouse’s harmonica on “My Love Has Gone”—say what you want, the man can break some hearts.
Not so little anymore
Not so little anymore
After seven years, three record labels, a failed first album and repeated rejection from all quarters, country vocal quartet Little Big Town
appear to have finally found their breakthrough moment. They’ve clearly built a solid fan base while no one was looking, as few acts with only one Top 10 could have sold out the Wildhorse Saloon Saturday night, or inspired the level of enthusiasm on display there. When the group finally whipped out that hit, “Boondocks,” at the end of the set, several audience members could be seen spinning in delirious bliss, like line dancers who had accidentally wandered into a 1966 Ken Kesey acid test and drank the punch. Such devotion was earned at least in part by the way the singers—Karen Fairchild
, Kimberly Roads
, Phillip Sweet
and Jimi Westbrook
, the latter two flanking the stage with acoustic guitars—proved that the crystalline four-part harmonies on last year’s marvelous sophomore effort The Road to Here
weren’t a pitch-tuned studio creation. A three-piece backing group added electric crackle to that album’s acoustic shimmer, bringing the overall sound closer to the group’s most obvious influences, the harmony-focused 1970s California rock of the Eagles (whose “Heartache Tonight” was the encore) and Fleetwood Mac. At one point, Fairchild informed the crowd that the show was indeed sold out, then added in amazement, “My mouth can hardly form those words.” Get used to ’em.
Spelunking for jazz
Dap on tap
If you’ve yet to get to Nashville Jazz Workshop’s Jazz Cave for a show, stop by this Friday, Jan. 27, for some Mulligan Stew
. Featuring saxophonist Don Aliquo
, trumpeter Jamey Simmons
, bassist Jim Ferguson
and drummer Austin Bealmear
, the foursome will explore the catalogs of the Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan quartets. The Jazz Cave is a hip little venue, and it’s BYO drink and food, making it an ideal (and affordable) place to hang, eat and imbibe while taking in some of Nashville’s finest jazz players. Coming up Feb. 10-12: acclaimed jazz singer and Berklee College of Music professor Donna McElroy, who will perform three concerts and teach master classes; call 242-5299 for details.
Dap on tap
Who knew that Nashville was the hottest spot for Daptone Records
outside of New York City? According to Doyle Davis, co-owner of Grimey’s record shop, the happening funk and R&B label sells a ton of records here in Music City, and as a show of appreciation, flagship band the Dap-Kings
are making a special stop at The Basement on Monday, Feb. 13. Singer Sharon Jones won’t be fronting the group, because she’s required to rest her voice every few nights, so they’ll be billed as Binky Griptite & The Dee-Kays
, with Dap Kings guitarist Griptite at front and center. Funkateers will be showing up in force, so get there early.
brings his new band The Distributors
to The Basement this Saturday. The group features members from his previous project, The Swindlers
, but The Distributors are a far cry from the former band’s old-timey sounds. Judging from the demos we’ve heard, Earle & Co. rock with abandon, kind of Crazy Horse meets The Replacements with a dash of Son Volt. In recent months Earle has played a series of well-received solo acoustic sets around town, so it should be interesting to see what kind of trouble he can start backed by a some high voltage and pounding beats.
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