There are several of advantages to taking in a rock show at the 5 Spot, be it the inexpensive booze or typically first-rate sound, but Friday night we addressed a convenience that we hadn't previously fully considered. Finding ourselves stricken with a post-fast food emergency, we weighed our options—retreat to one of the neighboring pubs and sneak away after doing the deed or seek immediate refuge at the 5 Spot and own up to any sort of lingering unpleasantness in our wake. The 5 Spot's well-stocked and relatively clean facilities proved to be more than accommodating, easily one of the top venues in town for deuce-droppin'. Without that relief, we might not have been able to enjoy Seth Moore's opening set.
Headliner Chris Freeman and Seth Moore are perfect complements: Each writes quirky and occasionally goofy songs that still manage to tap into more serious themes. Case in point: Moore's solo acoustic set was capped off with a slow, ’80s country and karaoke themed duet with a monkey hand puppet about learning through life's tough times. And why not? Baroque pop ensemble LYLAS followed, for whom Mr. Freeman once drummed. Probably the quietest sextet we've ever heard, LYLAS had their delicate arrangements largely lost on those near the back of the room as the venue filled with patrons, adding to the din that fought the band's set. Murfreesboro mainstays Velcro Stars offered a slightly sloppier than usual set that still managed to up the fun. The completely out of character and falsetto-laced "Looking for Some Strange Tonight," a quasi-funky ode to random sexual encounters, is easily one of our favorite new local jams.
But the night belonged to Chris Freeman, who began his trek along the Oregon Trail on Sunday. Since moving to Nashville two years ago, Freeman and his off-beat outsider pop have seen incarnations as The Chris Freeman Experience, Chris Freeman's Freedom Fighters, The Chris Freeman Two and, most recently, Chris Freeman and the Unicorn Horns. With Freeman trading his guitar for bass, the addition of three horn players, and Scene photographer Steve Cross behind the drum kit (note the lack of photos in this entry), the Unicorn Horns offered the high school band geek version of Freeman's bookworm-ish songs, which is to say it's a perfect fit. The set included songs about the dangers of becoming an A-plus student, an adorable duet describing the crossed signals that happen when having the hots for someone and a cover of The Pixies' "Debaser." Nothing in town sounded quite like it, and hopefully you caught it when you could.