Three years ago I met a five member band called Tell Romeo i Hate Him at Rocketown, and promised to myself and to them that I would be quick about interviewing them. Time passed, and that never happened. Now, four of those boys (plus a new face, Bryant!) are Jet Black Alley Cat, and I had the immense pleasure of finally seeing them (Warped Tour 2014 doesn’t count!) in all their glory at The End in Nashville. And just like when “Poison” came out, I was not prepared for this show.
It’s an unpleasant truth, but I can’t remember being to a show where I genuinely enjoyed every single band, until now. I walked home with all four of their CD’s, and everyone who has been in the car with me at all in the last week knows that I’ve overplayed them already. I absolutely adored everyone who played.
Band: Dream Chief
Highlight: They are cousins!
Favorite song: “Electricity”
Dream Chief was a great band to start the night with, the duo made a perfect opener because they provided the atmosphere without having a demanding sound. Those not ready to dance could enjoy the music just by swaying.
They have an electro-pop sound that I would argue is even better in person. Every song was different, and I think that helped the crowd get more comfortable with what they would be seeing that night. I loved seeing John and Luke switch on the vocals and both of them handled different sound effects. It was really effective, in my opinion.
They played all four songs off of their Movement EP: “IDK Why”, “Math”, “Electricity” and “Who Knows”. All of these songs are really catchy: they can be head bobbing material or full out dancing if you feel adventurous.
Band: Charge The Atlantic
Highlight: They played a cover of “Shut Up and Dance”!
Favorite song: “Work Suit”
The first thing I thought about Charge The Atlantic was: “Someone told them they could be anything, so they did!”
They have a sound that is nearly impossible to label, unless “Funk // Rock // Reggae” works for you, which is proclaimed on their Facebook. At first I was apprehensive of the way they switched their sound around a lot. “Let It In” was a good first song, though, because it seemed the most shocking. The more songs they played, the more I enjoyed listening to them. They were so full of energy and style.
I loved that they brought Ty Christian, who features on “Work Suit” out to sing with them. I did not expect what was coming next, but I heard just a few notes of the guitar before I started jumping around. Some venues and audiences are really picky about covers, but their “Shut Up and Dance” was on point and created a peak moment in the crowd.
They brought more than just good music to the stage, though. The showmanship (and energy) required to make a several minute long bass vs drum solo entertaining is really outstanding. I was completely sold when they closed their set.
Highlight: The lights!
Favorite song: “Vices”
This band had my attention from the moment they assembled four box-high towers of different colored lights on stage. A “Rock | Soul” group, Vega seemed to fit right in with the first two acts while remaining wildly different. There’s something so alluring to their music, something dramatic that makes it so fun to listen to. They are high energy without being overwhelming, and at this point I was so ready to dance the way the music made me feel. Even the slower song, “Wild and Young” was compelling and fun to sing and sway along to.
Band: Jet Black Alley Cat
Highlight: All of it!
Favorite song: “High Class Women” definitely, or “Parking Lots”, or “Roxy’, or “Poison”…or “Memphis Blues”!
Jet Black Alley Cat will be your new aesthetic.
Seeing Joe walk on stage, channeling Brendon Urie with a gold shirt to match his microphone and stand and a disco ball in the back of the stage was almost too much. It’s such a transition from what I remembered, in a direction that is so good and so right for them. No one else has the sound that they do.
Their performance energy was so high and the crowd was so engaged in each and every song. Watching all of them, but most of all Joe, move around stage with such passion made me even more engaged in their music- which is very good music, mind you.
“Vintage / Rock / Pop / Groove / Dance / Cinema” is a pretty good summation, actually. Their music is great, but what is addictive is the way they perform it. I knew I loved them before, but seeing a full proper set with JBAC in all their glory was in short, an Experience.
Oh, and I caught (well, retrieved when it slid offstage) a drumstick!
Perhaps the most important thing about all of these bands, though was that they were all very kind to me when I stopped to talk to them or ask for photos. The life of musician is demanding in so many regards, but I think in Nashville is really depends on the people to keep their fans. All of these bands had the talent and the showmanship, but that means very little with a bad personality.
My only regret, in all honesty, is not having more money for merchandise.
So, if you get the chance, listen to each of these bands. And don’t stop at one song either. They are all more than worthy of your time.
I hope to see them soon, and hope you do the same!