Tristen, D. Watusi, Paperhead and Hanzelle at Exit In Tonight

By Contributor Andrew Johnson

I saved my energy over the weekend for this interesting Monday night lineup at Exit In.  You can grab your $7 tickets here, or at the doors starting at 8pm.  Here’s the skinny:

Hanzelle is described as electro-chamber rock, which I think is only halfway correct. For some parts of certain songs, the listener is trapped inside an electronic chamber built with a floor, walls and a ceiling made of synthesizers, and the synths project at you from all audible directions. But other parts suggest an outer space atmosphere, with an infinite amount of room to float around and explore. Calculated, electronic dance grooves are commonplace, but Hanzelle’s Casey Kaufman projects high-pitched, distant, cry-for-help vocals that sound as though they are venturing into another galaxy. If the Mars rover Curiousity needed a soundtrack, Hanzelle’s music might be a candidate.

Paperhead graces us with psychedelic pop that exemplifies the feel-good sounding rock and roll of the British Invasion with songs like “Back to Those Days,” but still has the refined musicianship to showcase an atmospheric jam, like on the song  “Yellow Book.”  The conscious-expanding, harmonized vocals  beckon the listener to close their eyes and imagine they are sitting down cross- legged on a beautiful sunny day in a prairie field full of zebras and observing them with a kaleidoscope.

D. Watusi is just fun. Fun to listen to, fun to sway to and fun to drink to. The driving rhythm guitar, bass and drums are locked in like shotgun shells in a 12-gauge and the sky-rocketing lead guitar make swirls in the air like an out-of-control bottle rocket. This is summer music at its best. While we still have some nights left, let’s celebrate at least one of the remaining “Summer Nights” with D. Watusi’s song title of the same name, if we can.

It’s not as if Tristen needs to prove that the stripped-down live performance versions of her songs are daunting in a different light, but the Live & Reel recording of “Wicket Heart” reminds Nashville and all her fans that this is the case. Nashville is blessed to call her a local artist and to routinely enjoy her local live shows amidst all of the national press she has received and deserves. Perhaps we can intently pay more attention to the craftsmanship of the songs when she does her solo set tonight at Exit In.

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