Photos by Steve Cross
When Big Nurse made their first Nashville appearance in over two years Sunday night, they decided to make a big deal about it. That big deal was a festival of sorts at Springwater dubbed Noise Night.
We didn't realize just how early things would get started—around 6 o'clock—so our apologies to Aether Jag and God Willing. We didn't read the MySpace bulletin until after you played. But we did catch French-based Tiny Concepts, a one-woman project of delicate guitar loops and soft vocals. Quiet and sparse, Tiny Concepts was essentially the complete opposite of the Bleeding Wound set that followed. With two dudes, two amps, a bass and a guitar, Bleeding Wound was total amplifier worship, shaking the tinsel that lines the back of the Springwater stage with pure volume. Leslie Keffer and Val Martino offered an ethereal wash of ambient textures that lacked the quasi-danceability of Martino's Unicorn Hard-on project, but sounded gorgeous all the same. The normally well-mannered blues of Yr Cut of the Trust was much more unhinged than usual, which set the tone for Taiwan Deth, who performed as a duo and delivered one of the best sets we've seen from them in a long time.
The Healthy Home's ragtag ensemble of backing cast members made for a few false starts and some last minute stage direction before each song, but that didn't stand in the way of a fiery performance from frontman Nate Dodd.
Bad Friend played what was purported to be their possible last show, though we hope it wasn't—probably the best we've seen from them as well.
Thus was the long lead-up to the touring duo, beginning with West Virginia's Social Junk, who, along with Big Nurse, will soon themselves be relocated to Oakland. Opening with a soft, melodic bed of manipulated vocals and synthesizers, the Junk shattered that calm with a blast a drums and screams that made our skin crawl.
At that point Bleeding Wound/Bad Friend member Sean Collins leaned over to say "You know how people ask 'how do you know when noise music is good?' You just know." He said some other stuff, but we couldn't actually hear. If he said that it's no different than any other type of music, that the rule of "just knowing" applies across the board, then we're inclined to agree.
Big Nurse's homecoming was a throwback to the old days. Recent incarnations of the band have included upwards of eight members, but last night's show consisted simply of the four members who started the band back in Murfreesboro. So it was like 2004 all over again, with two psychedelic freak-outs of deafening preportions. The first was the band's bread and butter—an opening guitar line set the tone for a hell-spawned jam band as the pulse of the song rose and fell, eventually trailing off into oblivion. The second song went straight for the jugular, full-throttled and fast as possible. Hopefully we won't have to wait two more years to do this again, and hopefully those shitty amps will get just as loud.