The 2017 season of Live on the Green has kept August hot in its first two weeks, boasting spectacular lineups of St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Michael Franti & Spearhead, and Arkells, and Local Natives, Real Estate, and Minus The Bear. Keeping the ball rolling, the annual, free, outdoor fest hits the season’s halfway point this Thursday, Aug. 24 at Public Square Park with one of our favorite bills in the event’s history- Spoon, Portugal. The Man, and The Weeks.
Following the format adopted a few years back, Live on the Green has run four consecutive Thursdays, and will culminate next week with an epic three-day, two-stage finale, boasting one of the most exciting season lineups ever. Per usual, LOTG is free and all ages, and music will run this week from 6:15 p.m. to 11 p.m. Gates open at 5 p.m., and there will be plenty of food and beer vendors on site to meet your needs. Parking is just $5 at the Public Square Park Garage below the festival site and at Nissan E and F lots across the Woodland St Bridge, and various other garages and street parking options are available on the surrounding blocks. Finally, if you’re looking to up the ante on your LOTG experience, VIP tickets and backstage passes are typically available for purchase, however they generally sell out in advance. Find out more about this week’s installment below, and find out more about the entire season on Live on the Green’s site.
Celebrating nearly 25 years of existence, Spoon spent much of their early career honing their craft, organically building a cult following, and eventually crossing over to widespread commercial success, becoming, since the early ’00s, one of indie rock’s most celebrated acts, and and a breathtaking and acclaimed live force, frequently gracing festival lineups, late night programs, and stages around the globe. Formed in 1993 in Austin, Texas by frontman Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno, the group’s early work saw them experiment with blending indie, alternative, and art rock, finding modest success and even briefly inking a major label deal, as they cut their chops in the ’90s. It was 2001 third LP Girls Can Tell, though, that really helped put them on the map, and 2002 followup Kill the Moonlight, which sparked their first ubiquitous hit “The Way We Get By,” that helped cement the band’s status as one of indie rock’s mainstays, as their prolific hot streak continued for years to follow, with fan-favorite Gimme Fiction, and 2007 high-point Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga among their many fantastic releases.
After a few years off, during which they explored side projects, production, and more, Spoon sprang back to life with 2014’s They Want My Soul, but it’s this year’s latest, Hot Thoughts, which really feels like a return to the band’s artistic heights of a decade ago, reclaiming all of the emotional nuance, diverse influences, and inspired songwriting that made them such an important musical fixture. Their first release on Matador since their 1996 debut, Hot Thoughts has brought the group increased radio attention and a packed summer festival schedule, and we’re thrilled that Live on the Green is on the itinerary. Spoon have been atop our wishlist for many years running, and with their deep catalogue, electrifying stage presence, and accessible, smart, and eclectic sound, they’re a tremendous choice to entertain both longtime fans and newcomers alike. If you’re only going to catch one Live on the Green this season, this week feels like a sure-thing for an unforgettable night of quality rock.
PORTUGAL. THE MAN
Portugal. The Man took four years between their last album, Evil Friends, and this year’s smash breakthrough Woodstock. Not an unusual gap for most acts, but for a prolific, ever-evolving band who dropped seven LPs in under nine years, the wait for album eight truly felt like an eternity. The result, however, is a band refocused, pulling from the best bits of their past to craft something that stays true to their roots while managing to harbor more commercial appeal than ever. Hailing originally from Wasilla, Alaska, but headquartered in the Pacific Northwest, PTM’s origins actually came from the premature demise of vocalist John Gourley and bassist Zach Carothers’ prior project, emo/screamo band Anatomy of a Ghost. For more recent Portugal fans, they might sound a bit surprising, but the group’s only two permanent members (they’ve otherwise seen a revolving door of contributors) definitely cut their teeth in the punk and emo world, and even PTM’s earliest Fearless Records releases, press coverage, and tourmates reflected this, albeit with a layer of experimental rock on top, which would guide their sound as it evolved throughout the years.
Portugal. The Man’s breakthrough isn’t something that happened over night, but something they’ve been building and earning for over a decade, touring relentlessly, pushing their psychedelic, progressive, and experimental indie sound to new heights with each release, and earning a fanbase organically with their tireless work ethic. While no single release or song found instant success until ubiquitous new single “Feel It Still,” a culmination of everything, impressive and essential in its own way, has made them a beloved, popular act; their sophomore effort Church Mouth found early buzz, 2009’s The Satanic Satanist flexed their musical range, while Evil Friends showed off just how huge and nuanced their songs could be with the right amount of collaboration and extra attention. One of the most interesting and enduring rock bands in recent memory, and incredible live performers to boot, PTM are far more than a one-hit wonder, and if you’ve only recently come to know them, you’re in for quite a journey.
Blending southern rock with garage, alternative, and indie rock sounds, The Weeks started in high school, and produced several early albums before ultimately relocating to Nashville, and, subsequently, signing to Kings of Leon’s Serpents & Snakes record label. Their breakthrough came in the form of 2012 (originally 2011) release, Gutter Gaunt Gangster, with 2013’s Dear Bo Jackson helping expand their critical and commercial presence, and further realize the evolution of their sound. The band found wider buzz with 2014 EP Buttons, and took a healthy amount of time to refocus and meticulously craft this year’s third full-length, Easy, which, after chronicling their past with a collection of unreleased tracks last year, firmly pushes the band into the future, with their most mature, cohesive, and confident effort to date. Over the years, we’ve seen the group grow from small rooms to festival staple, club headliner, and international touring artist, and we couldn’t be prouder of their success. Eclectic in sound and energetic in their live performance, The Weeks are truly one of the most exciting rock bands to emerge from Nashville in recent years, and there’s a reason they’re played LOTG four of the last five years- we can’t get enough of them!