Review: East Nashville Underground, Spring 2013

This weekend was a busy one here in Music City. From East Side Hootenanny to Eastside Brew Ha Ha to Musicians Corner, it seemed as if it was impossible to escape the Nashville music scene. And as much as we regret missing all of the above shindigs, it was East Nashville Underground that caught our ears and hearts this weekend.

Evan P. Donohue kicked off the spring season of ENU on Friday night, and The Future followed up and set the pace when they dropped purple balloons from the sky and brought down the house with a fantastic rendition of Prince’s “Purple Rain.” (As reviewed by the girl standing behind me: “I hate Prince, but I loved that!”) The Weeks shared the headlining spot with the Kicks and accounted for 94% of the night’s fist pumps, particularly when they played “The House We Grew Up In,” the song responsible for the loudest group sing-a-long of the night.

At the low-key Saturday day show, the Undergrounders reconvened for Swaffles and mimosas, and Derek Hoke came to the astute realization that this was his first time seeing most of the faces in the crowd during the daytime. At the Saturday night show, Brandon Jazz & His Armed Forces kicked things off with his hilarious and electric version of performance art karaoke, ending his set with Smash Mouth’s “All Star.” *repeat repeat followed with their aptly-titled “surf rockcandy” tunes, unveiling a handful of new songs for only the second time here in Nashville. If you’re a fan of their current track, “12345678.” hold onto your hat because, with their (somehow) simultaneously gritty and cute surf-pop-rock sound, their forthcoming album may be the one that fills the gaping hole in our indie-pop music scene.

Chancellor Warhol, who shared the headliner spot with the Kingston Springs, quickly became responsible for the majority of the sweat coating the walls and faces in the venue. Amidst some light twerking amongst the audience, Warhol brought Alanna Royale onto the stage for a powerhouse duet on a new song and, once again, the audience lost their shit. Hotel War closed out the last festival at the East Room, wrapping up the festival season until the summertime, when a new set of doors will open for the event.

It’s no surprise that the Corders have done it again. Nashville has a tendency of spoiling us with live shows, but East Nashville Underground excels at bringing the community together to get drunk on free beer and sweaty hugs. If you ever need a reminder about why we’re all here, losing sleep, working too hard, and fighting this uphill battle for the sake of independent music, buy a ticket to any night of any season at East Nashville Underground; it’ll take only a few songs and one look at their livestream Twitter wall to remember exactly what it is that keeps this machine in motion.

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