Last night Smallpools played Exit/In for the second time in the past six months, this time promoting their new album LOVETAP!
*Note: DJ Blumy will still be contributing occasional music commentary and reviews to The VU Backstage because he is an unemployed philosophy major and has nothing better to do.
At 3pm yesterday, I turned in the final assignment of my college career. Partially to celebrate and partially to distract myself from the terror of facing the adult world, I headed over to Exit/In with my friend Sparling to see Smallpools rock the joint. My sister loves the band and had turned me on to their music, so making her jealous was another great reason to go to the show.
We arrived at 7:30 to find the half-full floor dominated by people without the over-21 hand stamps. Any illusion I had of being able to escape feeling old vanished immediately. Pitying the venue for what promised to be a slow night of alcohol sales, I grabbed a Shiner Bock and snagged a spot in the crowd just behind a couple of girls taking selfies. Naturally, Sparling and I photobombed as many as we could.
The finals grind has us real busy at The VU Backstage–we don’t get paid enough for this–but we finally have video footage for you of Julia Seales’ performance! Check out this awesome video by Tony of Julia playing “Taylor the Latte Boy,” originally by Kristin Chenowith.
The VU Backstage entered a new era on Sunday night as I, DJ Jack, took over the show from DJ Blumy. For my first guest, I had the wonderfully talented Jamie Cohen perform songs from her EP True Blue, as well as a couple of unreleased songs. Take a listen below for some soothing ukulele tunes, and to hear Jamie talk about 3d art instillations, music as a hobby and west coast road trips.
From left: drummer Joel Wren (he likes his personal space I guess), bassist Marshall Skinner, singer/keyboardist Daniel Ellsworth, yours truly, guitarist Timon Lance.
This year’s Rites of Spring was probably the best I’ve seen in my four years at Vanderbilt. The Music Group did an excellent job of bringing in headliners–Chance the Rapper and Young the Giant–who could excite a wide swath of the student body (unlike NEEDTOBREATHE) and then put on a show to back up the hype (unlike 2 Chainz). The lineup also ran impressively deep, featuring a resurgent T-Pain and a variety of up-and-comers such as The Lone Bellow and Matoma. Best of all, there was a strong local presence on Saturday’s docket with Louisa Wendorff and Daniel Ellsworth and the Great Lakes.
I got the chance to sit down with DE+TGL in the WRVU studio before their set later in the day and we had a blast talking about things like eating donuts, crazy stories from the studio, and the concept behind their music video for “Phantoms.” The band was also kind enough to play two songs in the studio for us as a little preview of their Rites show. Here’s audio footage of the full interview…
…and here’s video of the band playing “Sun Goes Out” and “Phantoms” live on air, as well as some highlights from the interview (if you’re in a hurry)!
Be sure to follow The VU Backstage on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the Vanderbilt music scene!
I can still remember the first post I ever wrote for this website. An audio recording of a novice interviewer and his talented guest, with a sentence describing the recording. Simple, to the point, but also unimaginative.
Lena Stone came back with a new name and amazing music. I think I’ve gotten better at interviewing, too.
Two and a half years later, that same guest returned with a different name and a vastly improved song catalog. And the hour she spent on the air, and the website where the recording of that hour will reside forever, seem like a completely different endeavor. Lena Stone’s music and personality shone through the microphone and left me gaping in wonder at the strides she has taken. I hope The VU Backstage’s progress has matched her growth.
Harry Chapin once sang, “All my life’s a circle.” Never has that phrase felt truer to me than it did this past Sunday. I’ll be handing off the reins of The VU Backstage to my successor, Jack Sentell, before the month is over. It was only fitting for me to bring my stewardship of the Vanderbilt music scene’s voice to a close with Lena. You can check out the full recording of the show below.
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Stevie Wonder kept Bridgestone rocking past midnight last night.
When my mom found out Stevie Wonder was coming to Nashville, she wanted me to go so badly that she helped me pay for the tickets. Not that I wouldn’t have tried to go anyways. Stevie is 64 years old, so who knows how long he’ll be touring? And word was that he would be playing his seminal 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life in full.
From the moment I found my seat at Bridgestone Arena I knew the show was going to be an extravagant production. On the stage sat two drum kits, two percussion arrays, seats for a ten-piece string ensemble and six-piece brass section, risers for a horde of backing vocalists, several keyboards and guitars waiting to be played, and of course Stevie’s setup front and center: his signature Hohner Clavinet and a Yamaha electric grand piano.
Alex Nicole and her guitarist Michael Meadows made for a dynamic interview last night.
Callie McFee ought to be listed as the casting director of The VU Backstage.
Once again, Callie bailed us out after an eleventh-hour cancellation, and we ended up with Alex Nicole in the studio last night. And Alex wowed us with her superb songwriting, beautiful voice, and positively bubbly demeanor. If you met Alex on the street, you’d be best friends with her within two minutes–and then, after listening to her music, you’d be her new biggest fan.
Our conversation spanned everything from Breaking Bad to deep-dish pizza to Alex’s love for telling stories. You can check out the full interview and performance below.
Be sure to follow The VU Backstage on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on the Vanderbilt (and Belmont) music scenes!