The Spin 

Last week on Nashville Cream, we offered up a prize to anyone who could guess the opening number of the Idols Live 2007 Tour.
Idoltastic Last week on Nashville Cream, we offered up a prize to anyone who could guess the opening number of the Idols Live 2007 Tour. We had some inklings ourselves, but never could have guessed at the wonder, the hilarity, the horror: The Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get It Started”—though, now that we think of it, Haley Scarnato could be characterized as AI’s Fergie. From the get-go, the whole Idols Live spectacle was big and loud and involved plenty of costumes and an exhausting amount of hype-man-style bounding from one side of the stage to the other. The second number was a Motown medley spearheaded by Melinda and Lakisha in vintage Supremes-style duds. Sanjaya joined Melinda for “Proud Mary”—not quite Ike and Tina. Then Chris Richardson, looking scrumptious as ever, came onstage for “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” which the three sung while doing, you guessed it, the grapevine. By then we were really in the swing of things—the tweens and the couples rocking the stonewashed, relaxed-fit jeans were at full froth. Phil Stacey reprised his version of “Blaze of Glory” in—get this—a knee-length black leather duster and black leather pants. That’s what I call badass! Meanwhile, our favorite little piece of pageant ass Haley was impressing with a plethora of suggestive ensembles, everything from leather pants to a corset to a fringe skirt. The most thrilling moment of the evening occurred early, though, when the lights dimmed, the crowd held their breath in anticipation, and then, as the opening chords of “Thriller” blasted over the loudspeaker, a lithe, red-skinny-jeans-clad figure rose from the floor. SANJAYA! To our dismay, he tried his hand at Jacko’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” in lieu of “Thriller,” but his hip-shaking, faux sexy moves were creepy enough as is. As he strutted across the stage, a touching montage of his Idol journey played on the massive JumboTron. For the most part, the evening was a series of group numbers, duets and medleys, with the occasional solo.

Grin-worthy (or cringe-worthy, sometimes we couldn’t tell) highlights included “Lady Marmalade,” “Ain’t No Other Man” and a Richardson-Lewis beat-boxing battle. Stranger even than Sanjaya (and the teens who love him), was the 15-minute intermission midway through. This was a concert, not Les Miserables. When the Idols returned from the break, we were treated to the obligatory patriotic number: Phil Stacey in his sailor suit, singing “America the Beautiful.” Later, the male finalists came out as the “band” they had formed. With Stacey on keys, Richardson on drums, Sligh and Lewis on guitar and the Sanjanator on tambourine (he did have a guitar slung over his back, which he never touched—probably to help him feel like part of the team), the boys covered Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and “Hey Jude.” Blake and Jordin played headliners (Blake far outpacing Jordin as a fan favorite) and took the opportunity to show their range: Blake did a whole lot of beat boxing and Jordin tackled an acoustic guitar and the middle-school-alone-in-my-room classic, Jewel’s “You Were Meant for Me.” Overall, we couldn’t have asked for a more entertaining evening—unless, of course, there had been more Chris Richardson.

Garage days revisited

Murfreesboro’s Sweetwater Saloon is a weird place to see rock ’n’ roll bands. It seems geared more to the ’beater and sideways-hat crowd—the kind of people who are usually oil to the indie kid’s water. If there’s any one thing we know about The Features, though, it’s that singer/guitarist Matt Pelham does not rap. The Selmanaires don’t, either, but Thursday night the Atlantans got us dancing from the start. It’s a pity their punchy set of cowbell-flecked, beat-driven numbers wasn’t witnessed by more than 20 or 30 people. Up next were headliners VHS or Beta, who seemed a little flat afterward, but in all fairness, they were playing their first show in 17 months, or so they said. We heard a lot of Robert Smith-fronted post-punk in their sound, but they seemed content to turn in a muted, dispassionate performance. Maybe it had something to do with the crowd, which wasn’t nearly as large as you might think for such a dynamite lineup. Most strangely, especially for a Features “homecoming” show, it was a very Nashville-heavy crowd. The Features were, of course, totally up for it anyway, or at least did a good job of faking it, but it was hard not to imagine that they were in this very same spot a decade ago, closing a set with “Thursday” to a mass sing-along.

If Nashville is the new L.A., we’re moving back to L.A.

It’s a shame that more people didn’t take advantage of the heady blend of artistic media at Saturday night’s Fusion benefit—City Hall was half-full at best. It’s not every night that Trent Dabbs’ sharply written and well-executed pop tunes (not to mention his suave quasi-moonwalking down the runway) share the bill with an assemblage of visual art (from Asher Woods’ Emmylou Harris portrait to a visceral paint-and-wax piece by Jami Harris) and the latest creations from Nashville Fashion Group. Regrettably, a much-delayed order of sushi rolls at PM ensured that we missed out on Matthew Perryman Jones’ set and the first fashion show of the evening, but we were present for the artful ebb and flow of Peter Barbee’s set, with its hushed acoustic balladry crescendoing into throbbing rock choruses. K.S. Rhoads was an embodiment of fusion unto himself—he followed up R&B-tinged piano-pop originals with an almost serious-sounding and decidedly un-Neptunes-like cover of “Hollaback Girl” (nearly as amusing as the video of Alanis Morisette doing “My Humps”) and freestyled about bartending. Successive fashion shows featured a gymnastically gifted male model walking the runway on his hands and a plethora of youthful, summery dresses and shirts emblazoned with the prophetic, if overly ambitious, slogan “Nashville is the new L.A.” Maybe not L.A., but nights like this certainly don’t happen often in, say, Pulaski.

Send....well, send us anything. You never call, you never write, it comes a Friday night and we never hear from you.Bummed,thespin@nashvillescene.com

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