As we previously written about at length, famed local alt rockers Paramore are currently winding down the record cycle (or “era,” as they like to dub it) for last year’s phenomenal fifth album, After Laughter, which, over the past year, has included surprise stops at Exit/In and The End, a headlining outing at The Ryman, and the group’s debut at Bonnaroo, all amidst international tour dates and critical acclaim for their boldest, most personal, and most adventurous LP ever. Before taking a breather and plotting what’s next, however, the band have come home to host Art + Friends, an extra special event this Friday, Sept. 7 at Municipal Auditorium, meant to highlight Nashville’s wonderful alternative scene, with local art, local venders, charities, and a stacked local musical lineup of COIN, Bully, Canon Blue, Liza Anne, and Nightingail– an excellent sample of some of the amazing music coming out of Nashville right now.
Tickets to the all ages event are still available here, and after weeks of individual artist spotlights, we’ve compiled a rundown of all of the musical performers below! Art + Friends is about much more than music, though, and with doors set to open at 3:30 p.m. (with performances beginning an hour later), there will be so much more cool, local fare to see and experience. Expect weird and wonderful art vibes from Elephant Gallery, products and demos from Hayley Williams’ hair dye company Good Dye Young, a curated selection of vinyl from famed local shop Grimey’s, a limited edition event poster from Kangaroo Press, a booth for Zac Farro’s boutique local label Congrats Records, a vintage popup from The Hip Zipper, an A/V instillation from Mike Kluge Audio Visual, food collection from charity Second Harvest Food Bank, food available from Daddy’s Dogs, posters from Hatch Show Print, a booth from community organization Epic Girl, photos by Nashville Smile Bar, and more!
Finally, head of the show, we caught up with Paramore’s Hayley Williams for a chat, reflecting on the band’s most personal album, opening up about hardship, and expressing her love for Nashville. Give it a read, then find out everything you need to know about the Art + Friends lineup below!
PARAMORE | 9:00pm
Every band on this bill should be familiar to local music fans, but the evening’s host and headliners, in particular, likely need no introduction. Formed in 2004 in nearby Franklin while still in their teens, Paramore played their first real show at The End, and, on the strength of their early material, landed a major label deal with tastemaking pop punk imprint Fueled By Ramen, who released their debut, All We Know Is Falling, in 2005. After fast becoming rising stars of the pop punk, emo, and Warped Tour scene (which, in the mid ’00s, was a mainstream force), by 2007’s Riot! and thanks to breakout hit “Misery Business,” Paramore were a bonafide, mainstream success, earning platinum certifications, chart-topping hits, and becoming a huge touring force. 2009’s brand new eyes marked a shift towards a more mature, alternative sound, earning critical acclaim, though, the following year, the band were dealt a blow when founding members Josh and Zac Farro abruptly exited, leaving the band to regroup as a trio, and lean into guitarist (and last to join original member) Taylor York as a primary songwriter.
2013’s eponymous self-titled fourth effort cemented Paramore’s transition away from pop punk, to a style more reflective of their adult tastes and artistic sensibilities, while still maintaining a rock edge, pop hooks, and earnest and relatable thematic focus. Notably, the album won the band their first Grammy (“Ain’t It Fun” for Best Rock Song), and spawned a series of crossover hits which widened their reach and positioned them as a group increasingly lauded for their growth and evolution. Despite themed cruises, festival stops, and commercial hits, however, inner-band turmoil and external personal factors nearly caused the group to split by the time their tour cycle had concluded. Managing to regroup, a then-duo of Williams and York slowly found the inspiration to work on what would become After Laughter, their best, most personal and honest, most musically adventurous, and most uninhibited album to date, pulling influence from everyone from Talking Heads to Tame Impala.
Written and recorded totally in Nashville for the first time, during After Laughter‘s creation, drummer Zac Farro rejoined the group, bringing along the retro, cool, worldly etherial indie pop sensibilities he’d honed with his solo outlet, HalfNoise. Emerging from adversity and hardship, once Paramore’s latest record was released to the world last year, it set into motion the slow process of a band nearly-broken regaining their identity, passion, and friendship. Over the last year and half, they’ve toured the world, and, while perhaps not magically cured of the some of the darkness that plagued them, along the way they’ve certainly come into a better place, and, more connected to their hometown than ever, cap an extraordinary run with a celebration of the city that’s been so integral to their story.
COIN | 7:55pm
Local indie/synth-pop outfit COIN came together a few years back while several members were attending Belmont, quickly finding buzz and a local following through their high-energy, polished live show and infectiously catchy and layered sound. With only a handful of tracks to their name, the group were already selling out local clubs less than a year into their existence, bagging them a deal with Columbia Records imprint StarTime International, through which they released their Jay Joyce-produced self-titled debut LP in 2015. While COIN made waves in the blogosphere, and helped the group find early success, especially thanks to buzzy cuts like “Run,” they really mined their time on the road with high-profile acts like The 1975, Neon Trees, and Betty Who, and honed their sound for the bigger, more confident, more cohesive, and all-around epic followup, this year’s How Will You Know If You Never Try, which brought the band closer to household name status without breakout single “Talk Too Much,” and subsequent big tours and festival outings. One of our favorite indie acts of the past few years, local or otherwise, COIN’s meteoric ascent has been a blast to behold and beyond well-deserved, and amidst a busy schedule of live dates and constantly mounting buzz, the past year has been their biggest yet. It’s increasingly rare to see the guys make it home, so don’t miss a chance to see them in such a cool and exciting context!
BULLY | 6:50pm
Throughout their earliest shows in 2013, buzzyworthy DIY releases and local domination in 2014, and subsequent signing, major label full-length debut, and well-earned international acclaim in 2015, watching local grunge pop group Bully rightfully ascend to become one of rock’s most important new acts has been an immensely gratifying journey. Led by singer/songwriter/producer Alicia Bognanno, an MTSU grad and former intern of beloved producer Steve Albini, Bully, despite buzzworthy pedigree, have always been, and largely remain, a fiercely organic, self-sufficient unit. Since their earlier 7″ and tape efforts, self-released self-titled EP, and 2015 full-length debut, Feels Like, which landed on more year end lists than we can count, the band have always managed to find a balance between ’90s alt-rock and grunge nostalgia, pop sensibilities, punk attitude, and modern indie flair, cemented by Bognanno’s unparalleled ear for production and biting musical sensibilities. Rounded out by guitarist Clayton Parker and bassist Reece Lazarus, Bully are at home performing with legacy and contemporary indie and punk acts, and have quickly become festival favorites, catching attention beyond just media praise, and having their music featured in outlets like television commercials, video games, and late night TV. The group made the jump to esteemed indie label Sub Pop last year, with whom they released their highly-anticipated sophomore effort, Losing, in October. Documenting the complexity of personal growth in an anxious and raw fashion, Bully’s latest is Bognanno’s most confessional and personal work to date, and feels like a more confident and cohesive take on the first record’s template. Road worn from several years of tours, Bully remain a bombastic and powerful live force as well, and with hometown shows now something of a rarity (this marks their first proper Nashville date of the year), their inclusion at Art + Friends is especially exciting.
CANON BLUE | 6:00pm
The sweeping, electro-laced, etherial, indie/orchestral pop solo vehicle of local songwriter and producer Daniel James, Canon Blue initially debuted just over a decade with 2007 first album Colonies, but caught our ear (and managed to drum up tons of critical praise and live dates with the likes of Foster the People) with gorgeous 2011 followup, Rumspringa. Though it took six years for James to return as Canon Blue, wowing us once more with last year’s stellar Lasso Yo, a fraught and personal effort recorded at the home of Paramore’s Taylor York and “conceived during increasingly long periods of isolation caused by increasingly intense bouts of anxiety and depression,” in the time between he also established himself as a formidable producer and arranger, helming the bulk of Zac Farro’s output as HalfNoise, and even occasionally performing with the project live. A profound, thoughtful, ambitious, and earnest talent, Canon Blue has long been one of Nashville’s best kept secrets, and James’ knack for layered, gorgeous, sweeping indie rock with soaring harmonies, diverse instrumentation, and worldly melodic sensibilities is second to none. We caught up with him many years back on an early version of our podcast, and are thrilled to see Daniel increasingly active as Canon Blue once more. Every performer at Art + Friends is amazing, but Canon Blue, especially, is an essential pick; catch up on his LPs if you’re unfamiliar, and prepare for an unforgettable show!
LIZA ANNE | 5:15pm
Since first captivating us with her 2014 debut full-length, The Colder Months, standout local singer-songwriter Liza Anne Odachowski has continuously impressed us with incredible growth as an artist. While, in her early days, her sound was more sparse and a bit folk informed, from the start the young singer has possessed a deeply personal, earnest, and powerfully emotional knack for songwriting that has carried across three albums. With 2015’s Two, one of our favorite followups in recent memory, Liza pushed into more layered, flushed out musical territory, honing her knack for harnessing vulnerable, relatable navigations of her own emotional state. And with this year’s Fine But Dying, not just one of the best local releases, but one of the best records of the year in general, and a glorious portrait of growth, bravery, honesty, and self-awareness, Liza feels more fully-realized as an artist than ever, equally vulnerable and anxious in her perceptive as she is focused and confident in her musicality. Finding a shimmering, gritty, anthemic pop accessibility and rock bite like never before, this masterful portrait of a “loose, mindful loss of mind” exposes a fascinating duality of an artist tapped into her own struggles and strife, baked into catchy beautiful music, not unlike Paramore’s happy/sad masterpiece After Laughter. Liza is such an obvious fit for this show, and given her increasingly high-profile touring, festival stops, late night TV debut, and blog and playlist love, among other attention, she’s seemingly on the verge of long-overdue widespread acclaim. If you’ve somehow missed out on her thus far, it’s time to play catchup.
NIGHTINGAIL | 4:30pm
A veteran of our former Acme showcase series, Nightingail is the live alias of Memphis transplant Alicia Gail. With a blues informed indie folk sound, a hypnotic voice, and the ability to craft earnest, story-driven, and poetic lyrics, Gail’s style captivated us with her eponymous debut EP in 2015, and in the few years since, she’s become an indispensable rising fixture in the local scene. Alicia’s songwriting is smart, layered, and magnetic, impressive both for her strong, emotional lyrical command as well as her knack for lush, alluring instrumentation, honed by a lifelong pull to music before formally operating under the Nightingail moniker. While it’s been a bit since Gail has released new music, last year saw her debut a trio of videos and recorded tracks crafted at Magnetic Sound, with the promise of a new EP on the way. Still a bit under the radar, Art + Friends is an exciting chance to showcase this unique local talent at a deservingly huge level, and we hope you’ll arrive early to cheer her on!
Paramore will host Art + Friends with COIN, Bully, Canon Blue, Liza Anne, and Nightingail Sept. 7 at Nashville Municipal Auditorium. The show is all ages, begins at 4:30 p.m. (doors at 3:30 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $36.50-76.50.