Is playing Ryman Auditorium as a local a Nashville rite of passage? Or is it simply a fringe benefit of locale? Who knows? I certainly don't! But you know who might be able to - at the very least - provide some perspective to such a quandary? None other than Nashville's own mon freres of long hair and garage rock, The Lonely Biscuits!
After seven years of toiling away at the Nashville slog (whatever that is, but at least it sounds dramatic!), the trio of guitar gazers were graciously (and rightfully) invited to perform at the Mother Church thanks to the continued benevolence of Judah & the Lion. To say it's been a long time coming might be rather trite and arguably unfair to the hallowed connotation of playing the Ryman, but in the end, The Lonely Biscuits arrival before the Golden Circle was nothing short of well deserved.
Following an opening set from Tyler Motsenbocker, The Lonely Biscuits walked the same boards everyone from Hank to Dolly have trod, but to play some slightly more "eclectic" tunes (at least with regard to the Ryman).
Serving as direct support to Judah & the Lion's second sold out evening, former Now/It's interview alumna Nick Byrd, Sam Gidley, and next week's inbound interview feature Graydon Wenrich hit hard from the onset. Whilst sitting amongst the pews, there were many whispers about the band's "funny name" or how "weird" the triumvirate was, but luckily, such uniformed musings were almost immediately followed with some form of "but I really like them!"
Credit to the three on their collective embodiment of the vintage football mentality expressed by the likes of Lombardi and Landry (and I'm paraphrasing here), "Act like you've been there before." Sure, that's a rather peculiar allegorical association, and arguably not the most salient explanation, but it does offer perspective of The Lonely Biscuits' momentous Ryman debut. They were naturals (then again, they are pros at performing at this point).
If an alien were to make a celestial pit stop at The Mother Church that particular Saturday, it would have almost certainly be led to believe that Graydon Wenrich was the single funniest human being on the planet, because every anecdotal story or song preface the flocculant front man was met with almost instantaneous guffaws. One particularly popular song introduction was the one that precedes the band's ode to the death of a deer (a story not to be confused with the upcoming A24 film Killing of a Sacred Deer) "Wild". In short, Wenrich regales the audience of a fateful day for a hooved interloper in the band's back yard, left for dead in their backyard. Naturally, the trio of musicians took it upon themselves to bury the deer, etc.
Anyway, that's an example of the extemporaneous (and endearing) ramblings of Wenrich, while each subsequent song was more than sharp thanks to the handiwork of Gidley and Byrd in the rhythm section. Furthermore, their integrated singing has become increasingly meritorious with each new show. Granted, the two weren't as verbose as Wenrich (bar for the incredibly polite "Thank You's" from Byrd during any dead air) but both were undoubtedly as amped to be in such a setting as Wenrich. Byrd evidenced such a fact upon the set's finish as he fist pumped and jumped his way off the stage. And who can blame him?
All that to be said, I don't know if any of this answered the rite of passage question in the beginning, but does that question really matter? Probably not. The thing that does matter is that The Lonely Biscuits have come along quite nicely in their musical sojourn, and The Ryman is just the most recent locus of note. All in all, an excellent show, and we'll no doubt see the Biscuits return for their own rightful headlining slot in the coming years.