The year is 2011 - when Buzzfeed was a five year old site with a funny name and Facebook’s biggest concern was how to build out its new campus on the Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park, California - when listicles/”best ofs” began to ripple their way into the hearts and minds of the Internet reading faithful. But you already know that. They were fun, light, and airy.
Oh to be young and dumb with lots of time to kill on the Internet….
Arriving (rather quickly) at the present day, no “decent” online media publication, website, or blog would be caught dead with some sort of listicle centered on “what’s best” at any given moment. They reminisce over the year that was, what color makeup to wear based on your Zodiac sign and preference in salsas, or which political candidate is worth your vote based on Disney princesses.
Ultimately, this particular type of web writing serves little more than to provide some suitable time wasting along with some generalized suggestions (typically from paid advertisers). In all reality, it’s a scenario not all that dissimilar from the concept of “the belt” as referenced in our Shame at The High Watt write-up from earlier this year. So why have we made this far into what appeared to be a show recap without little to no mention of concerts in and around Nashville? Will this be a listicle? Not quite. Is this a “best of” article? Sort of?
In terms of burying (confusing) ledes on the site are concerned, this one might be the most apparent that I read some “history of the listicle” articles prior to writing this (so top of mind awareness), but I digress.
What I’m trying to segue into is the fact, that thanks to Buzzfeed, Facebook, listicles and the like, a lot online writing revolves around the “best of” orientation, and from Now/It’s view, Dk the Drummer, Sucre, and Messyah (among others) put on the best Nashville show of the year at The Basement East. And you’re going to be considerably hard pressed to find a future show worthy of surpassing such a distinctive and dynamic night of music.
It’s amusing to think of the general show format as being “old hat” but when you stop to really consider it, the literal show format is, in a way, exactly that. You see the opener on the stage, stand and wait, maybe see a supporting act, stand and wait, then the headliner comes. If you’re in a hometown show, maybe the headliner brings out a “dear friend” or something of the sort, but you’ve kind of known that was going to happen because you saw them wandering around earlier in the venue. Wash, rinse, repeat.
But then you have the Dk the Drummer/Sucre show, which all but laughed in the face of such conformity.
Sucre opened the evening with a set that ranged from delicate to tempestuous, as the relative newness to her music made for a sonic revelation before every subsequent tune. While it was cool to see Sucre and Darren King (DK the Drummer) in action together, some praise is in order for David Sutton, whose string and looping work helped reinforce the interdimensional atmosphere that veiled Sucre’s set. There’s no doubt in my mind that Sucre is poised for some form of opening tour slot with a tUnE-yArDs or Maggie Rogers. Truly an artist on the rise in Nashville.
As for DK the Drummer and the aforementioned “laughing in the face of general show format conformity.” First off, DK opened the set not on the mainstage, but rather, a makeshift riser/pedestal stage in the middle of the BEast, donning half a disco ball and metallic gold tinsel fringe jacket (the height of fashion!), backlit by a studio projector running ambient visuals juxtaposed by hyper pop cultural vignettes. On paper (or screen, in this case), that probably seems like sensory overload, but rest assured, it was the perfect amount of stimulation to overcome any sort of audience trepidation.
DK gave shoutouts galore during his initial set to New Orleans bounce legend Big Freedia, the audience at hand, the house sound crew, all the while maintaining the frenetic energy that has become his hallmark. There was even an original song - "Why do we make such beautiful kids...." - that leaves for some enticing future DK the Drummer musical prospects.
A lot of the songs “covered” during DK’s solo sets were off his excellent (and I mean, excellent) workout mix (which I’ve worn out on a continual basis), featuring tracks from Busta Rhymes, Beastie Boys, and everyone in between. It’s a set that demands dancing, and DK made sure everyone did just that, taking a break from his initial solo set to join the audience mid groove before jumping up onto the main stage for the first of many guest drop-ins. From Matthew Theissen to Messyah (very sad he’s moving to LA), DK took time to run from makeshift stage to actual in order to support and highlight some of the incredible talent in town. It was a far cry from the normal headlining set, and thus, made it one of the best Nashville shows of the year.