Photos by John Connor Coulston
Indie rock and Americana music dominated the first night of the seventh annual Live On the Green free outdoor concert series Thursday night, with performances by Nashville’s own Elliot Root, Shakey Graves and Lord Huron.
Thousands of concert-goers filled Public Square Park as alternative rockers Elliot Root kicked off the event. In addition to their original material, the five-piece outfit performed a rousing cover of Whitney Houston’s 1987 hit “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).” The set’s pinnacle arrived when frontman Scott Krueger belted out the opening lines of “Punks and Poets,” a soft ballad that topped Spotify’s “Sounds of Nashville” Top 100 chart earlier this month.
“I want you to vibrate with us, Nashville,” Krueger yelled to the crowd before winding down the set. “Does that work for you?”
Texas-bred Americana act Shakey Graves opened with a string of spirited, folk-rock stompers, including a rowdy rendition of “Roll The Bones” from his debut album of the same title, as well as crowd favorite “Dearly Departed.”
Graves, whose given name is Alejandro Rose-Garcia, performed most of the set as a one-man band, occasionally bringing out two other band members for the heavier, rock-driven songs. The 28-year-old musician later invited local alt-country singer-songwriter Rayland Baxter onstage for a duet, a “traditional song” he said was appropriate because the two were “’90s babies.”
“Your grandparents may have sung this song to you one day, back in the crib,” Graves said jokingly before the two dove into a folky cover of Everclear’s “Santa Monica.”
Los Angeles-based Lord Huron closed out the night with accessible, vibrant melodies. Ben Schneider, the Michigan-born singer-songwriter leading the group, stirred the crowd with harmonica solos and hand clapping before transitioning into their more alternative material.
The band’s finest moments occurred on “Fool For Love” and “Dead Man’s Hand,” two solid, well-rehearsed tracks off their latest album “Strange Trails,” released earlier this spring.
The year’s Live On the Green boasts its largest lineup to date, with more than 30 local, regional and national acts set to perform on four consecutive Thursday nights. The final week extends through Friday and Saturday, Sept. 11 and 12, and will feature more than 15 acts on two stages, including Nashville-based star pop-rock star Ben Folds and indie electronic group Passion Pit. Go to www.liveonthegreen.com for more details.
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