Tuesday night at Mercy Lounge was about as close to a perfect night as one could hope for — the weather was flawless, nobody snagged The Spin's secret parking spot, and one of our favorite bands of all time was playing one of our favorite albums of all. Yep, The Breeders were in town for the release date of the LSXX, the new 20th anniversary edition of the altena-rock classic Last Splash, and all was right with the world. Shit, it was a packed show and there was hardly a line for booze! (We suspect that the alterna-teens don't rage as hard they used now that they are alterna-thirtysomethings.) Oh, and we're in love with last-minute-addition opener Deerhunter.
The Spin settled in, and the crowd seemed ready to worship at Rodriguez's altar — it was a slightly raucous houseful of suspense-loving rock fans. Opening act Jenny O. caught the ears of The Spin with her old-fashioned jug-band sound, but it wasn't old-fashioned in any pejorative sense. Her tight, efficient quartet displayed a disarming mastery of '70s-style funk rhythms and slangy guitar licks. Doing tunes from her full-length Automechanic, Jenny O. and band reminded The Spin of some cross between The Lovin' Spoonful and Nick Lowe — their style combines hints of R&B with echoes of 1960s San Francisco hippie-blues bands.
The Spin strolled into The End looking forward to an evening of mostly-new-to-us music and sidled up to the bar, curiously on time. Glancing over the stage, we mulled our expectations for opening act Shy Guy, which were low, based on their confusing Web presence: The only trace we found of the group was a Bandcamp page belonging to a New York DJ of the same name, which lists the Nashville Shy Guy’s tour dates for some reason fathomable only to Web developers.
By our good fortune, they turned out to be a two-guitar rock band that takes its cues from pioneering shoegazers like My Bloody Valentine and Ride, and their cover of Slowdive’s “Alison” would have slipped past as an original if not pointed out by a very animated Taylor Rust, whose cassette release was the evening’s cause célèbre.
If you didn’t know that The Black Keys lived in Nashville, you wouldn’t have known it by the end of the band’s sold-out Bridgestone Arena gig Friday night. While The Spin wasn’t expecting much in the way of guest appearances or set-list shakeups from the duo, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney certainly know how emotionally needy Nashvillians are, and in the banter department, wouldn't they say something to acknowledge the brief but storied history they’ve cultivated since moving to Music City two-and-a-half years ago?
Sure, Auerbach uttered his share of “Thank you, Nashvilles!” But they were probably in the same spots and in same manner that he thanked St. Louis in St. Louis, Cleveland in Cleveland and New York in East Rutherford. Likewise, the duo (augmented onstage to four-piece status with an auxiliary bassist and keyboardist) stuck to the script, turning in essentially the same set they’ve trotted out from arena to arena (and the occasional shed or festival) for the last (literally) 120 shows. Granted, those were the 120 cities they played before hitting Nashville.
Just as The Flaming Lips were wrapping up their newly darkened space-age psych show opening for The Black Keys down at Ye Olde Bridgestone Arena, we found ourselves in for an entirely different sort of freakout on Cannery Row as Goat — a Swedish band of witch doctors playing world music twisted around guitar riffs — tore the roof off The High Watt.
Under a post-sunset sky of deep, velvety blue, The Spin ambled toward Cannery Row, pondering what we might expect from Jim James. The My Morning Jacket frontman had explored some decidedly pastoral territory in his previous non-band work, including covers of George Harrison and Woody Guthrie, plus a stint in Monsters of Folk, the supergroup that also featured M. Ward and Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis. In all of his press photos, James was looking like a Beatle circa Abbey Road, and the word was that his first proper solo LP, Regions of Light and Sound of God, was inspired in part by Lynd Ward’s 1929 graphic novel Gods’ Man, whose plot applies the Faust story to the world of art. The tracks we’d previewed proved that beard-scratching sermonizing was out, so we stepped inside to investigate further.
The Spin approached the Mother Church with an open mind on Sunday night. We’ve heard a bit of Band of Horses, but it's never quite cut through the SST alumni, soul singers and other staples of our diet enough to stick. However, having sold out a night at the Ryman, added a second night to meet the demand, and then promptly sold that out, to say that these guys must have impressed somebody is a bit of an understatement. A quick check of the details indicated that the group had also impressed two of our favorite producer engineers, Phil Ek (Built to Spill, Halo Benders, the first three BOH records) and Glyn Johns (The Who, The Rolling Stones, BOH’s latest, Mirage Rock). Intrigued, we took our pew.
The Rock Block was a veritable hot spot of bohemian hip-hop on Saturday night. With the monthly KDSML Review featuring seasoned DJs and turntablists pumping sub bass through Exit/In's cavernous digs, some of Music City’s lesser-known MCs and beat-makers were strutting their stuff across the street at The End.
Call The Spin cynics if you like, but we knew better than to hem and haw or look a gift horse in the mouth when we were offered an invitation to watch Willie Nelson celebrate his 80th birthday with a taping of CMT Crossroads — a taping slated to air in late June, with cameos from Neil Young, Jerry Lee Lewis, Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow, Leon Russell, Jamey Johnson and Ashley Monroe. Rather, we responded with a gleeful, "Yes please, when and where?" Turns out the "when" was to be Thursday, April 18, and the "where" was Jack White's Third Man Records.
Record Store Day may very well be The Spin's favorite holiday, and we were indeed stoked on what this year's festivities held in store: the grand opening of Fond Object over on the East Side; Record Store Day Ambassador Jack White debuting his Voice-o-Graph booth at Third Man Records; monsters of emo-pop Paramore playing at Grimey's alongside Scene/Cream faves The Features and Hotpipes; and a big, fat celebration over at The Groove. We managed to catch a little of all of it — and even pet a pig and record our very on Third Man single in the process.
Good Morning Doyle, You asked so I'll explain. Last evening "snowman69" made the first comment…
ahem. the above article says SHUGGIE FUCKIN' OTIS is coming to play Nashville. why are…
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Anything cool going on this weekend though? Seems bleak out there