Well folks, we have reached that every so slightly peculiar time in the Nashville calendar where shows are at an all time minimum for all of about a week. With Live On the Green sufficiently fulfilling its free concert duty to the city, Nashville waits in the wings for all those Americanafest traditionalists to usher in the true blue (grass?) concert season in our fair city.
While a lull in shows is certainly more of an aberration in Nashville these days, the general nature of touring season does invite the occasional outlier in scheduling, when there’s an influx of shows for a 24-48 hour period, thus adding to the aforementioned “peculiarity” of this time of year.
In a weekend that saw many a “hometown” act play “special” shows - Art + Friends from Paramore, “Shred Thee Well” from Diarrhea Planet - Nashville had itself its own Game of Thrones style (minus the general frackas of GoT) turf war for any and all local acts playing in town over the weekend to flex their proverbial “staying power” muscles.
Sure, the whole “staying power” premise is only being used as a plot device in this particular write-up and is generally not (or at least, shouldn’t be) an important indicator in a band’s lifetime, but this is writing on the Internet and there are so many made up premises born in the name of diegesis, so we’ll borrow the premise for an additional few hundred words or.
That being said, let it be known that things like staying power and hierarchies in the greater show-going world are silly and pointless. If you like a band, go see them. Don’t fret about the superficialities of the entertainment world. If you genuinely like a band, and they seem to genuinely enjoy what they’re doing up on stage, embrace that.
Which (awkwardly) leads us to the matter at hand - The Pressure Kids at The High Watt from this past weekend. As referenced earlier, they did have a considerably stout “other show” lineup to go GoT style toe to toe with, but as is the case with most music (and not so much GoT), the good hearted and genuinely passionate prevailed.
I’ve never really enjoyed the notion of noting just how many people manage to come out to a show, mostly because that’s unfair to any and all that were there, but for the record, The High Watt was damn near sold out by the time The Pressure Kids took the stage.
Admittedly, sandwiched in between Yugo and Vacation Manor’s more pop leaning sheen, The Pressure Kids were a bit of a black sheep with a more “true” indie spirit of guitar dominant melodies and hyperactive stage panache. Imagine if the uber cool lyrical yarns of Dr. Dog somehow melded with the heavy hitting hooks of The Middle Kids, you probably would find yourself in the neighborhood of The Pressure Kids.
So hopefully that gives a frame of reference of what The Pressure Kids’ live sound resembles, though, it should be noted (as always is the case with artist to artist comparisons) that their sound is all their own. Now that we’ve covered the whole “what do they sound like?” gamut, let it be known that any and all shows by The Pressure Kids are not to be missed. There’s an aspect of genuine exhilaration when it comes to The Pressure Kids’ live set that leaves a lot of other shows feel discernibly devoid of joy.
Perhaps it’s the impassioned frenzy that is Nick Johnston’s fronting, or the perpetual grin on the faces of guitarist Allan Cuva and bassist Justin Bavier, or the calm steady collection of keys player Katy Carmichael, or maybe the ever-limber motor of drummer Zach Bodman, but The Pressure Kids offer an incredibly enticing live show. There’s absolute melodic synchronicity in one moment and frenetic exultation the next.
Even though The Pressure Kids have spent the past few years cutting their teeth around town, something about this most recent High Watt show felt like a coming out party for the band. Maybe not “coming out party,” but more of a genuine planting of a proverbial flag to prove The Pressure Kids’ impending flag bearer status in Nashville. And you better believe things are likely to go up from here, especially considering there’s a self-title full-length LP coming down the pike. So while this weekend might have served as a “flex” of The Pressure Kids’ significance within Nashville’s indie rock scene, the next year could potentially see them cement their status as one of Nashville’s finest. Here’s to seeing what happens next.