By Rosie Walker
(photos by Brian Wyner)
October 25th 2017, Exit/In, Nashville TN: Nestled near the heart of Music City, Exit/In is a historic venue that caters to the alternative. Breaking out from Nashville’s country music stereotype, this legendary location has been the start for a lot incredible acts. Many Nashville locals who are less than keen on country music, consider this place a haven. Their loyalty and love have kept the venue’s doors open for over 40 years. As you enter the dark building, you can feel the magic and history it holds. The entire venue is painted black, their uniqueness in ascetics and sound resonates with the special bands that get to play there. On Wednesday October 25, the New England act Elder took Exit/In’s stage and proved how exceptional this venue can be when talent takes its stage.
Nashville’s own Howling Giant was the opener for the evening. These lovable locals never disappoint. They know how to claim the stage as their own with their honest agility and zesty playing style. This rock band carries a contagious optimism with their ceaseless smiles and zero pretension. The heavy hitting fills on the drums and the complementary duels between bass and guitar separates this young group from so many other bands who try to create that envied, full sound. They ended their set with Blue Oyster Cult’s, ‘Godzilla’, that had the whole crowd engaged, making them fun and memorable. A great way to end a set and a perfect band to start the night.
After such a pleasant opening act, the room bustled about waiting for the first touring band of the night, King Buffalo. It was the middle of the week, but this 500-capacity room was comfortably full. Slowly the rumbles of amplified guitar tones rippled through the room. They allowed their atmospheric, stoner sound to slowly build, and a little light show gave guidance for the crowd to feel and be moved. This trio’s emotional production built an anticipation and intrigue. Frontman Sean McVay led the group with a calm persuasion and gentle elegance. The songs remained simple, but grew in sound and once they hit their stride, the crowd was drawn in and warmly applauded when the band hit the last notes of their set.
Just after 10 PM, the final act of the night, the mighty Elder took the stage. Immediately, their crisp, refreshing presentation lit up the room. These guys aren’t your average stoner/prog rock band, in fact, as they jam, their carefree and vibrant playing overflows with unique positivity. Their delivery of layered harmonies between guitars and bass push with power and pure poetry. They brilliantly release this technical groove that hits hard and colorfully lightens any mood. The different styles of each player mesh seamlessly together to create their captivating surge of sound. They played multiple numbers off of their newest album, ‘Reflections of a Floating World’, that just came out this past June. Yet the set felt all too short, given how trance-like and dynamic their performance was, it was easy to lose track of time. The enraptured audience reluctantly came back to reality when the house lights mercilessly turned back on. Always a good feeling when the whole crowd is into the band. It was an honest night of rock ‘n roll where bands and fans alike, enjoyed good music.
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