The night started with Candy Hearts taking the stage. The female-fronted indie band from New Jersey brought charm, rhythm, and catchy songs to the stage, turning many first-time listeners into fans.
There was a bit of a change in genres when State Champs took the stage, but no one even thought twice about how different the two bands sounded. It just worked. The pop-punk band from New York took things to the next level and brought everyone with them. There wasn’t a still body in the room.
The night continued this way as Set It Off took the stage, opening with a more theatrical performance. Lead singer Cody Carson started the set with a very animated and angry story of a romance-gone-wrong, telling each part of the story between songs and in such a way that it felt like spoken word. It was the kind of story that was told so well it sent chills down your spine. Things really took off when Carson decided to walk out into the crowd, holding onto hands and standing on shoulders as fans screamed and reached for him. It was a truly captivating performance that channeled many different vibes that kept fans on their toes.
The third and highly anticipated set of the night was none other than the solo artist William Beckett. The lights dimmed and Beckett’s charming opening started with Eminem’s “My Name Is” playing on the speakers and an overdub of Beckett’s monotone voice filling in the blank as, “Hi! My name is…William Beckett…” It was evident right away that Beckett is an artist with great talent and a big heart.
“Take care of each other, okay? Okay,” Beckett pleaded to the crowd as he handed out water bottles during his set. He shared stories of struggle with bullies growing up and encouraged people to give strength to those who need it.
Things picked back up when he invited Cody Carson to join him. He explained that they’d be doing “a song that we just recently wrote, so please pretend like you know the words.” They took off into a duet of “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry that sent the crowd into a world of excitement.
Finally, after an incredible night of music, We Are The In Crowd got ready to take the stage. As the band rushed the stage, lead singer Taylor Jardine waited side stage, bouncing on her toes before exploding onstage and diving into their hit song, “The Best Thing (That Never Happened).” Lyrics were sung from every direction and no one missed a beat. You could feel the weight of the crowd crushing against the stage and the band was loving it.
The pop-punk band from Poughkeepsie, New York definitely knows how to please a crowd. “Kiss me again, Nashville!” Tay Jardine said with a heartbreaking smile as they began to play, “Kiss Me Again” from their record Best Intentions. Guitarist and vocalist Jordan Eckes kept the energy levels high as he shouted, “I want to hear those voices!” and encouraged the crowd to get lost in the music. The band as a whole had a very energetic stage presence and it was clear they make music for these moments.
“We were touring for almost three years straight and the only people we really stayed in touch with was you guys. This record that we put out, Weird Kids, is truly for you.” Jardine explained in an intimate moment before going into their song, “Long Live The Kids.”
Although the night was packed with excitement, great music, and casual artist/fan interaction, it was a night for all music lovers. It was a night of reunion, as it was a reunion tour and the first time in years that many of the bands had played in Nashville. It was a night for fans to let go and rejoice in music and celebrate the weird. After all, we’re all just weird kids in the end.
All photos and review by Sami Wideberg