Ep.490 – SoundLand 2011 – Nashville, TN – 9/21 to 9/24
Oct 11th, 2011
Category: Fine Peduncle, Foster The People, M. Ward, Nashville, SoundLand, Video Concert Reviews, Yelawolf
SoundLand 2011 – Video Concert Reviews – Part 1
It has been a couple of weeks since Nashville’s SoundLand music festival, and although, I continue to dry-heave whenever I think of Sweet Tea Vodka or Fireball shots, it’s time I got my act together and gave y’all a breakdown of YTC’s SoundLand experience.
To be completely honest, the initial lineup didn’t stop me in my tracks, but as new additions were announced and I dove a little deeper into the SoundLand website and Facebook page, names like comedian Neil Hamburger, Ghostland Observatory, Yelawolf, and Foster the People gave SoundLand the star power I was looking for.
The convenience of seeing all of Nashville’s most talked about on one four-day bill was enticing, but not enough for me to spend $65 on a wristband. Of course, you could get one for the early-bird price of $35 when tickets first go on sale, but not many people are willing to commit that far in advance. Really, when you see the savings, it’s not a bad idea to invest considering the Next Big Nashville team always pulls through.
I think a lot of people went the single-ticket route this year, and for the bigger shows, I’m convinced many in attendance didn’t even know there was a festival going on.
I must stress, if you’re happy with the lineup and want to make the most of your SoundLand…as intimidating as the $150 price tag is…the VIP badge is where it’s at. When you think about it, racking up the cost of tickets, drinks and cabs during SoundLand – you’re going to spend more than that.
Plus, SoundLand isn’t only about the shows…it’s social. SoundLand is an opportunity to meet and mingle. The VIP parties are great to catch up with those you haven’t seen since last year’s festival, and also, a key spot to find new people to go on SoundLand adventures with. The open bar selection was minimal this year, but at some point during the weekend, you either stop caring or stop drinking.
SoundLand 2011 – Video Concert Reviews – Part 2
Let’s talk music. I had a few shows on my schedule that were non-negotiable, but other than that, I was open to whatever. The SoundLand web and promotion team did a impeccable job of updating the site with artist profiles and music news, as well as incorporating interactive tools like the user-friendly Facebook-synergistic scheduling calendar and the SoundLand smartphone app.
Plus, posts offering free compilations, song downloads, and links to Spotify playlists were a helpful crutch in figuring out what I might be interested in. Even though I only saw a fraction of the bands playing, I was turned onto many new artists simply through the materials made available digitally.
When it came to plotting my course of action, I decided to fill chunks of unoccupied time with sets by artists or bands I’ve never even heard of. I’d listen to a couple of songs and decide whether to stay or party forth.
The first night there was only one choice – the M. Ward show at War Memorial Auditorium. Dawes and Jonny Corndawg were the openers, although Dawes was the workhorse in the bunch by performing their own set and also backing Jonny Corndawg and playing on some of M. Ward’s songs.
Jonny Corndawg was the cutest little Country bumpkin. He sang those tongue-in-cheek hillbilly ditties so sweet, I could just sop him up with a biscuit.
With a Chevy logo on his leather-worked guitar and lyrics like “shaved like a razor, but it’s done with a laser, and it’s down on the bikini line, “ how can you not love this guy.
His new album “Down on the Bikini Line” is streaming for free on his Bandcamp page: http://jonnycorndawg.bandcamp.com/album/down-on-the-bikini-line
Dawes displayed some serious musicianship, but it was when they played “A Little Bit of Everything,” that turned me from “on-the-fence” to “fan.” The sentiment in the song and delivery was honest and truly moving. I was zoned in from that moment on and encourage everyone to see them on their current tour with Blitzen Trapper. They’ll be back in Nashville on October 19th at Mercy Lounge.
It was nice to see M. Ward, but in my opinion, he didn’t live up to the hype. The room got silent, drowsy and still; a lonely, sad vibe – and although that can be appealing at times, it wasn’t working for me. Clearly it was for some, and so, I’m going to chalk it up as a miss due to the venue and/or the effects of a long work day. I’ll see M. Ward again, but Dawes and Jonny Corndawg outperformed M. Ward at this particular show.
Thursday night was Foster the People’s show at the 12th and Porter Block Party Stage. I’m standing strong behind these guys. I love the album, and when “Pumped Up Kicks” became a radio hit, I was thrilled that the world embraced it. I felt that the song’s success proved that Program Directors are actually listening and taking a chances with their rotations when they believe the talent is there.
I know some people that don’t like Foster the People, because they are too Pop. I wonder if they would think the band was “too Pop” if it wasn’t on Top 40 stations. Foster the People may have lost their indie clout with the hit, but good riddance.
I also have heard some people say that Foster the People are the death of whatever “indie” is now. Now that the wall has come down and indie pop is accepted, what’s going to happen? Looks like bands will have to work towards a new sound to avoid being popular.
Foster the People Photos by Tom Peace
I was lucky enough to see Foster the People twice that day. They came into 107.5 The River and performed an acoustic set for contest winners, and then I saw them at the main block party show.
Both performances were equally engaging and seeing both showed how they can adapt to different crowds and spaces without a problem. I mean, the pimped-out fully-orchestrated stage show had tons of life; between the audience’s excitement, the lights and the band switching off on instruments left and right, you didn’t know where to look.
The acoustic performance was mellow, but more personal, and the skeletal versions flaunt the songwriting and all the other parts that make Foster the People stand apart from the norm in both indie and mainstream.
Before Foster the People took the stage, we caught some of Fine Peduncle at MAI. The crowd was sparse, but those in the club were really into it. Apparently, Fine Peduncle played Bonnaroo after submitting for a slot through SonicBids.
It was like watching a teenage boy in his bedroom practicing his best Justin Timberlake over homemade beats. Then, he’d bust into some rapid rhymes combined with some Prince-like stage moves and even worked in some looping. Watching him, I felt kind of perverted, but kind of intrigued. I’m not sure if I loved it, but I wasn’t about to leave. He won Guy’s respect with the track, “Holla at Them Titty Bags.” Fine Peduncle made an impact…that’s for sure.
SoundLand 2011 – Video Concert Reviews – Part 3
Friday was the night that I was most anticipating; well because, I’ve been slightly obsessed with Yelawolf this year. First, I started of at The Station Inn to catch a band called Humming House that I met at one of the VIP parties earlier in the week. They were fun front-porch Southern jam type of stuff that sounded amazing in the famed house of Bluegrass.
Next up, was a band called Painted Desert that the locally-adored Evan P. Donahue introduced and heavily-endorsed. I decided to stick around and it ended up being my favorite show of SoundLand.
In the way the Dawes lured me in with that one song, Painted Desert did the same, but from the get-go. There was a likable quality about this duo immediately – young and shy, yet poised and beautiful. Then, they began to sing these mature, dulcet masterpieces, and I was captivated. I noted “Just Like a Woman” as a favorite, and whenever I saw the duo around for the rest of the festival…I’d get a little starstruck and whisper to my husband about how amazing they are.
I had cash in hand, ready to buy a CD, but they don’t have anything out right now. However, Painted Desert is in the studio, so keep an eye out.
Painted Desert put me in an airy mood, so I was ready for my imaginary boyfriend, Yelawolf. I’ve seen him a few times live, and he too came into the stations’ performance garage over the summer for a meet-n-greet.
He told detailed stories about being homeless and his old job delivering mattresses, and then went into how he made it to where he is. Hearing him speak was both humbling and inspirational. Yelawolf made it clear to the fans in the room that he didn’t get a free ride after meeting Eminem; he had to push himself.
When you see Yelawolf perform, you know every word is true, because he doesn’t let up for a second. Dude barely takes a breath, and this SoundLand performance was no exception. If you haven’t seen Yelawolf, shame, shame.
Saturday was a party-hard day. It was the Neuhoff Factory Party with food trucks, an inflatable mini-theme park of sorts, and a long day of music ranging from Jessica Lea Mayfield to Jeff the Brotherhood.
The act that stood out for me the most at this show (from the acts I was there for) was The Black Belles. This occult-esque girl group is represented by Jack White’s Third Man Records and has been featured on “The Colbert Report.” Something about hot chicks in Gothic garb playing short,simplistic rock songs had me spellbound. They are definitely something different, which has always been on White’s radar. I love how White knows the importance of branding – where it’s not a gimmick, but just always there.
I finished off the night and another amazing Next Big Nashville/SoundLand by heading to The Basement with my new friend, Nathan, where we caught Caitlin Rose. I love that girl’s voice.
For many, the festival ended at Mercy Lounge where my favorite 90’s cover band, My So-Called Band, played Nirvana’s “Nevermind.” If you were at that party or any of the SoundLand shows, comment with your adventures, highlights, lowlights, and thoughts on SoundLand in general; Because When You Tell Concerts…It’s Cooler!”