3rd & Lindsley residencies are to Nashville what debutante balls are to the aristocratic masses. Strange, I know, but there’s a thruline here, I promise (remember, farfetched ledes are a Now/It’s specialty). Any band or act that can command more than one night while not being named The Time Jumpers (nothing but love for the TJ) has got a “shot” at making some significant “moves” outside of Nashville.
Even better, if the aforementioned act manages to sell out any, much less all nights of a residency, they’ve all but arrived within whatever respective “scene” or “wave” they inevitably find themselves at the forefront of.
And so, that leads us to the purpose behind allusions to the 1%, The Time Jumpers, scene “legitimacy” and what not - Elliot Root just had their own version of Nashville’s debutante ball. After two sold out nights at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville’s incumbent alt-rock ascendants have cemented their “arrival.”
Before we dive into the nitty gritty of Elliot Root’s first of two evenings (a Saturday, for anyone interested), let’s take a moment to address the considerable quotative excess of the first few paragraphs, specifically when associated with the words “legitimacy” and “arrival.”
Just to get it out of the way, the quotations serve as air quotes, the gesticulating way of indicating that the writer finds these words to be a little high and mighty for any writer to have to gall to write in such self-elevated standing. In less grandiloquent language, I think writers feeling like they have the right to christen an artist’s “arrival” or “legitimacy” is unfounded.
That being said, there is some use out of the themes that surround legitimacy and arrivals. On Saturday evening, there was a sensational spirit to the room. The excitement was palpable. Having only seen Elliot Root once before - at Live On the Green this past year, of which I was totally unaware of their incredibly devout following - I was just as intrigued as the anticipatory throngs were excited to see a proper Elliot Root club set.
From the onset, it was the consummate alt-rock performance, satisfying every corner of the incredibly wide ranging, vague genre denomination. What I’m trying to say (in some unnecessarily flowery terms) is that Elliot Root is arguably one of the tightest and most dynamic groups on the local (and likely, national) circuit.
The aforementioned dynamism operated twofold - first, the foursome are just top of the line musicians. Their prowess is evident, and their confidence is bountiful. Secondly - and this is coming from someone who typically enjoys banter - their banter was tactful. There was little aimless rambling, a la present day Brian Wilson or smarmy commentary, a la Father John Misty. There simply were matter of fact, but poignant, affirmative statements.
For instance, when the band took the stage, their genuine gratitude was evident from many a prayer-hand thank you, but formally punctuated by Scott Krueger’s emphatic “We sold out two nights in this motherfucker.” Short, sweet, and sincere. No need for continued rambling.
The set itself made for an apparent fan favorite, as Elliot Root ran through many a tune off of Conjure, including an anthemic take on “Wicked Lies,” as well as an original composition in service of the upcoming (and highly anticipated) JJ Abrams-produced Hulu series, Castle Rock. As Krueger explained, the song let the band “spend a little more time exploring things that are a little fucked up.” While there was many a moment to note, you would have been hard pressed to find a more moving moment in the set than when Krueger dedicated “End of Our Faults” to his expectant wife, immediately following a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.”
As alluded to earlier, we’ll refrain from vague platitudes like “Elliot Root has arrived” or “Elliot Root has made it,” but it should be acknowledged that this past weekend was a line of demarcation in Elliot Root’s career. If the two sold out shows at 3rd & Lindsley are any indication, this is just the beginning of a brilliant rise into Nashville’s greater stratospheric realms.