By Rosie Walker
October 13th 2017, The End, Nashville TN: There was a chill in the air last Friday night in Nashville, Tennessee. Autumn had finally arrived in The South. Folks traded in their denim vests for jean jackets to hit the rock ‘n roll show that evening. Just west of downtown Nashville, there is a small bundle of buildings known as the ‘Rock Block’. Every night you can hear punk or rock music pouring out from various doors residing on this street. The two legendary venues in this cluster, Exit/In and The End, are spaces that have catered to alternative music for decades. This past, brisk, Friday evening, proved that they still do.
The End greets you with colorful graffitied walls and the sour smell of old beer, but what makes the venue truly special is the bands that play there. The mighty Royal Thunder was in town and the small venue buzzed with excitement as things got started around 9:30 PM. First up was local band, Holy Mountain Top Removers. The Tennessean trio caught people’s attention by their unique, atmospheric sound. Their progressive, weird, and yet versatile music set the cool vibe that remained the rest of the night. Most didn’t even notice that they were strictly an instrumental band. Their full, creative sound didn’t need a vocalist. Next, the southern boys in Royal Hawk, took the stage. Though they shifted gears with their different performance style and energy level than the previous band, the fun, chill vibe of the evening continued. With twang and soul, this quartet got the room moving with their obvious love and enjoyment of what they were doing. This Atlanta based band summoned catchy, likable riffs that drew the audience in. Their ability to genuinely jam was a perfect mood setter and a great way to warm up for the headliners.
Royal Thunder hit the small-scale stage just after 11 PM. The room came alive as the band bashed into their first number. Many members in the audience stood in wonder as if they were unprepared to hear such a regal, roaring voice come out of frontwoman, Mlny Parsonz. Just seconds into a song, her ability to belt and dictate such creative stories can captivate full audiences. The serenity in their unique southern sound mixed with grunge, and rock ‘n roll takes the crowd on a ride they’ll never forget. The earnest in their deliverance leaves a lasting impression. Founder of the band, guitarist Josh Weaver, knows how to manipulate and share a variety of tones and hooks that really complement everything Mlny is singing and plucking on the bass. The band’s ability to marvelously mesh their individual skills, shows off their real talent and strength.
RT danced all over their catalog with songs from their 2015 record, ‘Crooked Doors’ and their self-titled album that was released in 2010. Yet they mainly focused on their newest release, ‘Wick’, that just came out this past April through Spinefarm records. The new numbers ‘Burning Tree’ and ‘April Showers’ were highlights of the night. Will Fiore, who joined the band as a second guitarist in 2015, adds more dimensions and amplifies the band’s already great groove. Each member plays with such grit that their ballsy presence is like a rumbling fire that burns as they share their stories. Drummer Evan Diprima, takes these narratives and adds even more power and articulation to their emotions by his bluesy style of playing. The meaty, invigorating numbers they jam come from a wellspring of expertise and heart. Their nonchalant, yet passionate approach to performing allows the crowd to experience something different and very special. As they played their final song, the crowd cheered loudly and left reluctantly, not wanting to lose the rock ‘n roll magic they just experienced. The End holds only 200 people, it’s tiny, but the talent they get through the door is massive. Royal Thunder lit up that quaint, divey room, as well as the audience’s hearts.
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