Featuring former members of Superdrag and Slack, The Lees of Memory have spent the last few years becoming one of the most interesting and prolific acts in Nashville’s underground rock scene, perfecting their fusion of power pop and shoegaze over three LPs, most recently last year’s impressive double album The Blinding White of Nothing at All, and amassing critical acclaim along the way. We hosted their first show ever a few years back, and while they’ve played many more since, hometown outings are still something of an intermittent occurrence, which is why the group’s headlining show tonight, Dec. 14 at Exit/In, along with local kindred spirits The Vamptones and organist Krazy Kyle, is one of the year’s last must-see concerts! You can still grab tickets right here, so secure your spot then read on for more about the show!
THE LEES OF MEMORY
Made up of John Davis and Brandon Fisher, formerly of Superdrag, and drummer Nick Slack (Slack, Epic Ditch), local rockers The Lees of Memory are a group we’ve been obsessing over since their earliest beginnings. Born out of experimental recording efforts and informal song ideas between Davis and Fisher, the band officially came together a few years ago, and inked a deal with tastemaking indie label SideOneDummy ahead of their acclaimed 2014 debut LP, Sisyphus Says, which built on the alternative and power pop flair of the members’ prior projects, with added layers of shoegaze and experimental influence. We had the honor of booking the Lees’ first live performance ever back in 2015 as part of our Acme showcase series, and in the several years since, they’ve continued to play out, release new music at a prolific clip, and amass ongoing critical praise for their honed and adventurous body of work. 2016 saw the trio (who perform live with additional backing players) take a more melodic turn with sophomore effort Unnecessary Evil, which adopted a poppier bent in the vein of some of Superdrag’s most celebrated work, and just last year, the band dropped an astonishing double album, The Blinding White of Nothing at All, flexing even more range and an impressive knack for crafting huge, grand collections of songs. Honed from years with other projects, even if the Lees don’t heavily tour, the group boast a captivating live show, and though they’re local, their hometown appearances are still fairly intermittent. Don’t miss a chance to see one of Nashville’s best rock groups in action!
Formed in nearby Murfreesboro in 2014, The Vamptones are led by Ben Wilkinson, who, along with The Lees of Memory’s Nick Slack, was long a part of former Nashville punk rock institution Slack (who were at one point signed to Superdrag’s label). One poised to be a breakout Nashville act in the mid-’00s, Slack came to an abrupt end amidst frustration and industry drama, leaving Wilkinson feeling discouraged to the point where it took eight years to pick up an instrument again. When he finally did, an the encouragement of a friend, songs began flowing out once more, and prompted Ben to recruit Nicole Wilbanks (guitar), Shea Hoff (bass), and Erin Piper (drums) to form The Vamptones, selected equally for their musical prowess as for their likelihood to be interested in pre-show pizza parties. Attracting buzz for early demos, as well as increasingly frequent live outings, The Vamptones really perfected their stompy, gothy, surfy, shoegazey indie sound with 2015 LP Kicks, cementing them as a must-see whenever they pop on local bills. Obviously a natural pairing for The Lees of Memory, both for their shared history and sonic similarities, The Vamptones help make this show even more essential.
Best known as the organist for the Nashville Predators and Nashville Sounds, Krazy Kyle Hankins is, without a doubt, a local legend in his own right. What his opening set might be, we’re a little unclear, but his inclusion on the lineup definitely has us curious enough to show up early; we encourage you to do the same.
The Lees of Memory, The Vamptones, and Krazy Kyle will perform tonight, Dec. 14 at Exit/In. The show is 18+, begins at 8:30 p.m. (doors at 7:30 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $20.