The best part about living in Nashville? Easily, all of the concerts year-round – almost every single artist or group, regardless of genre, makes a tour stop in the Music City. The best part about living in Nashville as a single adult? Having the money to go to whatever concerts you want and not having to get prior approval from a parent or spouse first. This summer I got the chance to go to three major concerts!
Concert #1: Matt Nathanson/The Fray/Train (Bridgestone Arena)
I love Train. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song of theirs that I don’t like, and what’s funny is that I don’t listen to them all the time, but the minute a Train song comes on, I’m all in. My favorite song of theirs is “50 Ways to Say Goodbye”; it’s so clever and funny, and music video cracks me up every time. There’s always the slight fear in the back of my mind that I’ll see one of my favorite artists in person and be disappointed, but the band was fantastic, we had great (but affordable) seats, and Pat Monahan’s vocals were radio worthy – I really can’t believe the notes that man can hit.
The Fray for me is kind of a throwaway. I only know a few of their songs (mostly from Grey’s Anatomy and other media) and they’re not great live (the lead singer’s voice kept cracking), but ultimately I wasn’t there to see them, so no harm, no foul.
The big surprise of the night for me was Matt Nathanson. I downloaded his song “Run” featuring Sugarland a few years after hearing it on Hart of Dixie (beyond sexy!), but I didn’t think I was familiar with any of his other work. To my surprise, I recognized several of his songs, like “Headphones” and “Come On Get Higher”. Plus, the man just exudes energy and enthusiasm. I would gladly go to another concert in the future just to see him.
Concert #2: Dustin Lynch/Randy Houser/Thomas Rhett/Florida Georgia Line/Luke Bryan (Vanderbilt University football stadium)
Not going to lie, I totally lucked in to this ticket. My friend B- bought tickets for her mom for Mother’s Day, but when she found out the concert was going to be outdoors, she decided to pass and B- took me instead. The venue itself was uncomfortable (bleacher seating, no backs, uncomfortably packed, and almost 100º), but the music was first class.
I wish there had been more of Dustin Lynch and less of Randy Houser (not bad, just not my favorite), but I knew Lynch was the relative new guy of the line-up, so it makes sense that he would get less playing time.
Thomas Rhett is quickly becoming one of my favorite newer country artists. He has a very cool vibe mixing new school with old school, and his song “Crash and Burn” makes me want to roll the windows down and dance.
Florida Georgia Line surprised me and B- both, I think. Neither one of us are huge fans of their music normally, but they sounded great live and put on sun a fun show. Doesn’t hurt that they’re both gorgeous on top of talented 😉
Luke Bryan, however, was the total star of the show. I realize there’s this whole controversy re: is new country still country or should it be called pop country, but I love it all. Luke Bryan is such a delight, his vocals are on-point, the songs are catchy, and the entire show is quite the affair. There’s a reason he’s the reigning ACM and CMA Entertainer of the Year. My favorite song of the night was probably “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” probably because the entire stadium, myself included, broke out in dance and shook what their momma gave them.
Concert #3: The Devil Makes Three/Old Crow Medicine Show (Ascend Amphitheatre)
This is the epitome of why I love living and working in a big city: I got a text at 4:30pm from W- wanting to know if I wanted to go to the Old Crow show with him at 7:30pm. I said yes, he bought the tickets, and when I got off work at 5:30pm, we met up and headed downtown.
The Ascend Amphithetre is brand new, located just seconds from lower Broadway and the Cumberland River. Neither W- or I had been yet, so we got there a little early to check it out and claim our spot smack dab in front of the stage in the General Admissions Pit. Turns out the venue is very cool, lots of seating, and great acoustics; the only downside was the price of beer and concessions, so I’d personally recommend eating beforehand.
W- and I hadn’t heard of The Devil Makes Three before, but they were quite good – an Americana trio from California with a guitarist, upright bassist, and guitarist/banjo player. Occasionally the man tuning and swapping out the guitars came out to play fiddle with them, obviously classically trained and a delight to listen to (Side Note: You know how they say playing a musical instrument automatically makes someone more attractive than they would otherwise be? Very true in this case).
Old Crow Medicine Show was everything I hoped for and more. This was the 3rd time I’ve seen them in 2 years in 3 different venues (the others were The Woods at Fontanel two summers ago and The Ryman Auditorium this past New Year’s Eve). I actually used to hate Old Crow back when I lived in Knoxville due to noisy drunken neighbors and their penchant for playing “Wagon Wheel” 19 times in a row at 2am, but now 5 years later, I’m back to loving them. There are so many things to love about Old Crow – the sound, their on-stage antics, the constant switching of instruments, the outfits – but I love how excited they are about their music and what outstanding instrumentalists they are.