Dull Blue Lights (fka The Snails) w/OJR

Sat Aug 12 2017

7:00 PM (Doors 6:30 PM)

The Basement

1604 Eighth Ave South Nashville, TN 37203

$5 ADV/ $7 DOS

Ages 21+

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Dull Blue Lights (fka The Snails) w/OJR

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  • Dull Blue Lights

    Dull Blue Lights

    Soul

    The Dull Blue Lights are a band in between. Drawing from influences as varied as Motown soul, Nuggets psychedelia, and Jamaican rocksteady, the Philadelphia-based group’s definitive blend of cascading harmonies, screaming guitars, and relentlessly grooving rhythms lives somewhere between each one. Their electrifying stage show, says Philadelphia radio personality John Vettese, dances “between practiced performances and unhinged spontaneity.” Formerly The Snails, the quintet is fronted by the gruff yet soothing voice of Todd Fausnacht and his sweetly chaotic guitar. Behind him are Ben Parry on bass, Matt MacLeod on organ, Tim Hildebrand on guitar, and Josh Parry on drums. The Dull Blue Lights’ self-titled LP arrives July 13th, 2017.

  • OJR

    OJR

    Music

    “Are songs like keeping diary entries for you?” Clementine Zawadski asks, in an interview with Oliver John-Rodgers for HERO Magazine (March 2016). “It actually goes beyond that,” replies John-Rodgers—more commonly known by his initials, OJR. “I think, for me, it’s a way to come to grips with a situation. Your thoughts on something—a person, politics—once you commit it to song, it’s there. So, if you’re not sure where you stand, or you’re going through a traumatic experience, it’s a way of tackling it.” This might explain OJR’s penchant for highly colorful, expressive, and, at times, uncomfortably personal lyrics. They range in subject matter from sociopolitical to autobiographical, hyper-specific to shockingly universal: One minute, for example, he’s defending himself as a “big-city, Peter Frampton wannabe / Soccer-loving brat in his ‘faggy,’ little skinny jeans,” while the next, he bemoans, “I can’t seem to fit all my thoughts / Into 140 characters / Or some emoji, do you even know me? / I’m a little lonely man.” To quote Brendan Krovatin, of TapSongz, declaring in his review of OJR's third collection of songs, Nashville Demos: "Oliver John-Rodgers was born in the wrong era." 

               Born in Virginia in 1992, OJR was brought up in and around the country/folk/bluegrass leanings so prevalent in the mountain culture of his beloved “Baby Blue Ridge.” But also, as a 90's baby, he lists some of his earliest musical influences as Nirvana, Cracker, and other popular grunge/alt-rock acts of the decade. “Rowdy and energetic,” comments Philip Obenschain (No Country for New Nashville, July 2015), “the talented performer certainly flexes an affinity for country and folk he’s adopted as part of his image. But his sound truly lands more in the rock realm, with fuzzy, indie, and psychedelic sensibilities, and earnest, electrifying songwriting.” Hence the nickname OJR has acquired since relocating to Nashville from New York in 2014: The “Acid Cowboy.” Perhaps as a sort of rallying cry for young artists and non-artists alike—those who might yearn for the impassioned social awareness believed by many to have played a far greater role in music during the 1960's and 70's than today—this nickname (and brand) stands to represent the dualist nature of all discontentedly old-fashioned millennials, all bitter Southerners, all rockers and rollers: The Acid and The Cowboy. 

               But “dual” means “two,” and to imply OJR wears only two hats is a grave understatement. While High School and Human Style—his first two collections of songs, respectively—reside exclusively in a folk-friendly, singer-songwriter neighborhood (à la Bright Eyes/Ryan Adams/Elliot Smith), 2015’s Nashville Demos saw OJR exploring sonic terrain as diverse as grunge (“Numb”), outlaw country (“Runnin’ from the Law”), doo-wop (“In Love with a Bowler”), sensual, 70's groove (“Lips on Fire”), and garage rock (“Front-Door Man”). Recorded in various bedrooms in cities all over the world—New York, London, Paris, and Nashville, to name a few--these "demos" certainly blur the line between home-recordings and a proper, studio-grade album. Ever the mercurial perfectionist, OJR might have self-produced all ten tracks on Apple's free, built-in software GarageBand, but nonetheless insisted on the time and attention to detail one is more likely to expect from a professionally tracked studio album than from anything made in a bedroom on a MacBook.

               While “Numb,” the scorching grunge-rock single off Nashville Demos, has managed to enjoy heavy rotation on some of America’s lead taste-making independent radio stations in 2016—WXPN in Philadelphia, WFUV in New York, and KUTX in Austin, to name just a handful—as well as to catch the attention of NPR this past May by earning the Acid Cowboy a chance to grace the illustrious stage of World Café with David Dye, the end of this year sees OJR ready to leave the DIY, home-recording approach behind, in pursuit of a fuller, more realized record. His next release, Acid Cowboy EP, was tracked to tape in Nashville’s acclaimed analog studio Welcome to 1979, and features a well-rounded mix of songs previously included on Nashville Demos, rerecorded and re-stylized with full band, plus fresh, new material—including the scathing, country-rock lead single, “Under the Hood,” a swaggering, pointed song, which noticeably takes nods from Let-It-Bleed-era Stones, while remaining chockfull of relevant lyrical takedowns of some unnamed authoritarian figure (OJR, one might argue, is at his best when tapping into that Dylanesque knack for penning potent finger-pointers). In anticipation of the new release, OJR has spent the majority of 2016 on the road, supporting the likes of fellow Nashville-folksinger Rayland Baxter, blues-rocker-turned-popstar Grace Potter, and acclaimed New Orleans songwriter Anders Osborne. In addition, he has enjoyed prominent slots at radio festivals across the country this year, including sharing the stage at XPN Fest with likeminded glam-rocker Diane Coffee, opening for indie-rock veterans Nada Surf at WFPK’s Waterfront Wednesday, and headlining WTMD’s First Thursday festival in Baltimore, Maryland. 

               In a world inundated with hollow late-night infomercials and countless other get-rich-quick schemes, perhaps OJR is precisely the bit of artistic substance we long to see returned to the once-proud tradition of American rock & roll music. Maybe all of us could benefit, that is to say, from a little bit of Acid and a little bit of Cowboy.

Dull Blue Lights (fka The Snails) w/OJR

Sat Aug 12 2017 7:00 PM

(Doors 6:30 PM)

The Basement Nashville TN
Dull Blue Lights (fka The Snails) w/OJR
  • Sorry, you missed this event.
  • Check out other similar events on TicketWeb.

$5 ADV/ $7 DOS Ages 21+