“Are you sure it’s Road to Bonnaroo time already?” Shivering our way along Cannery Row, The Spin felt more like we were trudging toward Sochi, the resort town in Russia where the Winter Olympics would be kicking off later this week, than anything to do with the annual ritual of sweat, sounds and substances that is the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. A glance at the calendar revealed that the big show was only four months off, so it was indeed time for the locals to gather so that we might decide who would represent us in one of three afternoon slots in Manchester. Spoiler alert: It was local rock 'n' rollers Blank Range.
Pixies were never much for convention. Perhaps that explains why the band booked a 2,000-plus-capacity theater in a secondary city in a red state on Super Bowl Sunday. It might also explain why The Spin made another fashionably late arrival to the Ryman Sunday night — we just couldn’t avert our dazzled gaze from the Pepsified gold-lamé spectacular that was Bruno Mars' red-hot halftime show. Long story short, not even New Jersey wintertime chills can inspire Red Hot Chili Peppers bros Flea and Anthony Kiedis to keep their shirts on, and Bruno Mars is this generation’s Wayne Newton.
Hiding from the polar vortex gave The Spin a righteous case of cabin fever, so we had to get out or risk losing what was left of our warped little minds. Lucky for us, Friday night presented a wealth of good choices for an evening’s entertainment: underground hip-hop over here, groovy country rock over there, meaty rock 'n’ roll yonder, soul-crushing heavy sounds that way. After much squinting at tea leaves, throwing of 12-sided die and flipping of that Sacajawea dollar we got in change at the post office, we collected as many layers of clothing as possible and set off for The Stone Fox to see if Hollow Ox, The Ascent of Everest and The Inscape could serve up some much-needed brain nourishment.
When Against Me! announced that they were dropping off a Bad Religion tour that would have marked their triumphant return to Nashville in March 2013, The Spin was majorly bummed. Over the years, we had soured a bit on the Gainesville punk rockers, but between Laura Jane Grace publicly coming out as transgender and the ensuing EP (which turned out to be exactly what we loved about Against Me! in 2003), we were given cause to reevaluate a band that meant so much to us as little Spinlets. And on Sunday night, at a sold-out Mercy Lounge, we were finally able to make a conclusion: Against Me! is still pretty fucking awesome.
Thursday night’s affair at The Stone Fox began as a relatively modest one. When The Spin arrived at the venue a few minutes before things were scheduled to get underway, the Fox was mostly filled with the night’s late-dinner crowd and early bar patrons.
There may be no real king of power pop — being the opinionated super-fan you probably are, you may give the crown to Marshall Crenshaw or Chris Bell, or perhaps you favor Scott Miller or Pete Ham. But it’s safe to say that Paul Collins has a shot at that royal title, even if you have as much trouble defining power pop as we do. Collins made classic power pop with The Nerves in the mid-’70s, and went on to create equally compelling music in The Breakaways and The Beat before embarking on a career that saw him releasing solo records and leading The Paul Collins Beat. Collins’ music represents the New Wave-influenced wing of power pop, and the show The Spin witnessed Monday night at The Basement made a case for Collins as songwriter, rocker and astute chronicler of the glory days of our collective youth.
One night in the winter of 1994, a group of talented kids drawn to the Midstate by MTSU’s recording-industry program played at Exit/In. It was one of their first live performances, but it impressed visiting suits from Zoo Records, a BMG imprint that released breakthrough records for Matthew Sweet and Tool. A deal was signed, and one of the great legends of non-country music in Nashville took flight. If you’re one of the few unfamiliar with the rest of Self’s story, the rise and fall of Murfreesboro indie label Spongebath Records and the slew of other top-shelf local musicians involved, feel free to inform yourself. Though Self reunions happen only when the stars align — times like Sunday night, which marked the 20th anniversary of their signing and a special reissue of their debut record, Subliminal Plastic Motives — The Spin would soon find out the warm and fuzzy glow of nostalgia wasn’t really necessary to make one such show worth our while.
The evening after we heard the news of the passing of Phil Everly, The Spin was making our way to The Stone Fox in search of rock ‘n’ roll revelation. As all rock fans know, Don and Phil Everly revealed many aspects of rock’s future in their late-’50s and early-’60s work, and they became neo-revelationists in their recordings later in the ‘60s when they helped invent power pop and made modernist music as fine as any by The Beatles and The Byrds. We anticipated seeing equally excellent neo-revelationist Nashville rock from three of the city’s finest bands, and what we heard Saturday night from Lylas, Adia Victoria and William Tyler surpassed our expectations.
According to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp, the New Year's Eve Bash on Broadway drew "an estimated 85,000 people to downtown Nashville" on the final night of 2013. Whether or not that's an especially generous estimate, that was likely where more Nashvillians were than anywhere else, soaking in the sounds of Hank Jr. and The Kopecky Family Band. The Spin, however, opted to spend our evening slightly further west, bouncing between the EDM blowout at Bridgestone Arena and the punk-rock party at Exit/In.
For a few years now, in-demand piano man Matt “Mr. Jimmy” Rowland’s annual Christmas synth ensemble The Spaceship of the Imagination has attempted to do the holiday’s best known tunes justice with copious amounts of kitsch and analog synthesizer. This year, Rowland stepped it up several notches with a full-fledged pageant at The 5 Spot with a tone and presentation that landed somewhere between your parents' congregation's living nativity scene, the most off-the-rails televised variety hour you've ever seen and a hobo holiday party down at the rail yard.
Clement's "Let the Chips Fall" is a great song--the '60s Charley Pride version is one…
I actually have a video of failure playing the exit in sometime in the 90s…
English teachers be like "Yo..... what are all these......... arbitrarily numbered dots.. in your rant...........?"
Thank you for your honesty, Steve. Your comment really puts things in fucking perspective.
WHY is it you progressives think because you use a string of vulgarities it makes…