East Nashville Underground WINTER 2013 [Review]

Review & photo coverage by: Amber Davis
Main top title image appears courtesy of East Nashville Underground.

Live Twitter feeds, free beer, an energetic crowd and a man walked on stage stripping down to his suspenders and pants during Moon Taxi were just a portion of what happened during East Nashville Underground.

East Nashville Underground :: Winter 2013 was a festival of many surprises and firsts on Feb. 15 and 16. This winter season was the third season in The East Room outside from Co-CEO of ENU, Jared Corder’s basement. The ENU festival had 20 bands and two DJs playing Friday night, Saturday day and Saturday night with headliners Colorfeels and Moon Taxi. Each night’s show was the festival’s first-ever sold out shows. The festival was filmed by a documentarian that is featuring ENU and the Starry Nights Festival.

A dance frenzy from Vinyl Thief exploded through the audience, as they kicked off the first night of the festival. Grayson, the lead singer, danced all over the stage when unexpectedly his mic went out.  There was a 10 minute pause on Vinyl Thief’s set due to a power outage on stage. 
When the power came back on, the drummer joined the middle of the stage to pound on an electronic drum.  People coming in were migrated closer to the stage to dance along with Vinyl Thief’s last song.

This high energy performance was exactly what the audience needed as they settled in.

Next up was All Them Witches; these stoner-rockers made the audience swing their bodies slowly with their eyes closed to heavy head banging.

The third band to play Friday night had a saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, bass and drums. The powerful vocal chords from Alanna Royale, a tall woman dressed in a red dress. Or according to their Facebook page “7 members, 6 bears, 3 horns, and 1 lady.Alanna Royale’s voice left everyone in awe as she bent over the crowd hitting note after note.  Self-described as “raunchy soul,” was clear during her performance. Between each song Alanna Royale spouted out some raunchy language that made the audience whistle and holler.
During the middle of one song she kisses her guitarists on the lips, telling the crowd “we just met a few minutes ago.
When Alanna Royale left the stage, several girls wedged their way to the crowd to get closer to the stage.

Jared came on stage to introduce the next band and said “I hope you have your dancing shoes on.”

Once Machines Are People Too (headliner) played about 10 seconds of their first song everyone in The East Room was moving along to the music. With synthesizers, keyboards, bass guitar and drums created a psychedelic electronic-rock tone.

Magnolia Sons (headliner), a 10 piece band was the final headliner of the night. Two girl singers, wearing pink dresses, and two male singers (also most of the other band members) wore a white suite. Each of the singers had Mardi Gras beads hanging around their necks. Just like Alanna Royale they also had a saxophone, trombone and a trumpet but with a synth keyboard and four singers.  After each song each singer had their own song to sing as their own giving the Magnolia Sons a unique power-pop sound.
We left the night after Magnolia Sons performed even though Cult Logic and DJ Rate of Boom Bap played until 3 a.m. According to Jared, there were 200 people dancing to the DJ’s music till 3:30 a.m.

Saturday Day Show
Barely 12 hours later, the Saturday Day Show begun.  While most of the returners from Friday night came in with hangovers they were still up before me. But, who wouldn’t want to get up for free bagels, muffins, coffee, mimosa, waffle sandwiches courteously of Swaffles and more local music.
Even though most of the audience sat in chairs during the day show, that didn’t stop the first band, The Static Trees, to show the audience what Rock n’ Roll is. The Static Trees have a blues tone and a front woman whose vocals sounds almost similar to Joan Jett, but with blue tipped blonde hair.

Jared welcomed the next band by explaining that ENU is not all about indie-rock bands. “Here in ENU we have had rappers to country bands, so here I introduce to you Jon Byrd."

Jon Byrd’s nostalgic country vocals on traditional rootsy blues ballads like "Alabama Asphalt" are appropriately accompanied by a pedal steel and brush drums.

As the next band set up, some of the audience was really intrigued by the man behind the 12 string bass. One person in the audience commented on the fact that the bass was once used on a pirate ship.
But, don’t let the complex bass steer you wrong. Singer-songwriter, Joshua Smith sweet sounding voice captivated the audience. Joshua also had a fiddle player, giving a folk sound to his set.

The next band to play was alternative folk band, Waterfall Wash. Their songs were catchy and more people stood up during their performance. The band had several instruments playing throughout the set such as the mandolin and a lap steel guitar.
K.S. Rhoads (headliner) came on stage next alone. During the first two songs, K.S. Rhoads used a looping pedal to harmonize with himself. After shocking the crowd as a solo artist, he welcomed his guest onto the stage Emily West. Emily West bashfully walked up to her mic. After one line the room shouted and cheered for more from her. K.S. Rhoads also had a violinist with him. During the last song K.S. Rhoads performed an acoustic guitar solo leading the violinist to do a solo as well.
The next band that performed blew us away. Colorfeels  (headliner). They had a colorful (no pun intended) plate of instruments giving each song a different sound. Such as two drums, a xylophone, two guitars, an electric double decker organ, bass and two vocals that blend perfectly well with each other. During one long string of pure instrument jamming, Justin Maurer, one of the singers and guitarist, raises the body of his electric guitar to his face and blows inside the opening of the body– making the guitar give off a mellow-like feedback.

Saturday Night Show
Before the Night Show started Jared went on stage introducing the first band to play.

“Is anyone day drunk?” Jared said to the crowd. The crowd mingling with one—another shouted in response.

First band up was the Golden Spurs. Crazy head-banging rock with several guitar solos allowed the “day- drunks,” to jump and nod along.  One drunk in the crowd slurred his words after every song shouting “Yes, this is real rock n’ roll!

COIN impressed the crowd that night. When they first came on stage Chase Lawrence, the lead singer and keyboardist, said to the crowd “Hi. We are Coin, you probably never heard of us.” They played songs from their EP and had the whole crowd sing along as they covered Symon & Garfunkel’s “Cecilia.” Towards the end of the night the dancing crowd knew exactly who COIN was – as the crowd exploded in applause and whistling after each song.

More people squeezed themselves in while Tesla Rossa was beginning.  But, before they performed Lightning 100 gave out a signed poster from all the performers and a signed bass guitar.  Tesla Rossa rocked so hard the lead singer blew out his amp during the start of one of their songs.  The audience climbed on top of each other as Tesla Rossa continued to rock out after their blow out.

Next up was a folk rock band, James Wallace & The Naked Light (headliner). This band had two drummers, a double decker piano, saxophone, a bass and James Wallace playing his hollow body guitar. Most of the crowd knew every lyric of each song. James Wallace would go to one end of the stage where a handle phone was perched on a stand. As James Wallace leaned against the handle phone, to sing, it gave his voice a grainy effect – setting this band an apart from the rest that night.

As people drowned more free drinks into their system, they became antsy that Moon Taxi (headliner) was playing next. People pushed their selves up to the front to see their “favorite band,” perform. Moon Taxi hand everyone in the crowd dancing and moving along to their songs.  The lead singer, Trevor Terndrup, was continuously smiling when he looked up at the crowd’s reaction.
The most shocking moment of the whole weekend was during the middle of Moon Taxi’s set. The bass guitarist of Tesla Rossa, Joseph Copeland, walked on stage next to Trevor with a black jacket and a blue solo cup. As Trevor started to play the next song “Cabaret,” the Joseph stripped off his jacket bearing only his suspenders and blue jeans. He held his blue solo cup and stared straight at the crowd throughout the entire song.  Trevor tried not to laugh while singing the line “I’m blown away,” as he stared questionly at Joseph.

As we tiredly left Saturday night after Moon Taxi, the night was still not over The Wans and DJ That Guy closed the ENU’s winter season.

Even though the next morning was rough suffering with ringing ears, a lost voice and a hangover East Nashville Underground :: Winter 2013 was a festival not to forget.

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