On a Tuesday night, not many Nashvillians were on the look out for an entertaining show. What most concert-goers don’t realize is that Nashville’s underground music scene is booming and getting bigger by the day. I sat a top the simple balcony of venue Exit/In crowded with already claimed barstools. You have to give it to the small but mighty venue– although Exit/In looks somewhat like a ghetto bar, it has hosted musical legends since the venue’s origination in 1971.
Fans had crowded in a long line wrapped around the side of the tattered building. Ladies in flashy tops and high-topped boots were buzzing with anticipation. There was no sense of rush to get into this concert. Everyone had arrived in a fashionable manner with time to purchase overpriced drinks as they patiently awaited the arrival of the first act. Exit/In had been blanketed in a mass of led lights, projectors, and all sorts of unusual contraptions in true Icona Pop style. Major Lazer’s “Bubble Butt” vibrated through the audience as a means to give the crowd a spike in energy prior to the first peformer, Sirah.
The loud music and fog didn’t seem to be enough to get the majority of fans involved, despite the energy Sirah desperately threw at the audience. Sirah had a little trouble in the beginning, trying hopelessly to engage the obvious Icona Pop fans. Most everyone had pushed up against the stage, but with no familiarization of Sirah’s songs, it was hard for fans to communicate any feedback and showed little interest.
Sirah’s punk rocker demeanor added gumption to her creative sound. However, due to sound balance complications most of her lyrics were unfortunately drowned. She hyped up the crowd, creating a great push forward for the overall concert. Sirah’s trip into the audience definitely earned her some points with clueless fans. The passion Sirah and her crew shared with the audience helped make up for the amateur beats and melodies excluded from her band. Fans were mostly preoccupied with cellular devices and seemed more entertained with Sirah’s hair then her vocals. The set ended just when it began. Most people showed up after the mediocre performance.
A Chicago native, K. Flay, was the second feature of the night. The volume level increased immensely going from light chitter chatter to a dull roar. The set change for K. Flay was considerably longer than that of Sirah, causing a build up of anticipation and energy. K. Flay jumped on the stage and owned the crowd from the beginning. Concentration and passion poured out of her naturally smooth raps. She rocked the crowd with hair in her face and a black skull t-shirt. The audience buzzed like ants on an anthill. Her music has a hip-hop, psychedelic feel that made it impossible to keep your eyes off of her. With renditions from Weezer and cuts from Drake, K. Flay blew the unsuspecting crowd away. Although a few raps were hard to procure, it didn’t matter because her energy was the most captivating of all backed by powerful melodies and strong beats. Using props such as drumsticks and squirt guns, K. Flay was fully in her element.
Now, the main event appeared in futuristic suits. Wasting no time, they dove into their original music. After all the hype brought on from Sirah and K. Flay, the audience was ready to jam out to Icona Pop. Icona Pop members Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo were a mesmerizing sight marching in space age get up costumes. Performing popular hits such as “I Love It” and “Ready for the Weekend,” these girls put out a disco-like quality raging hard and bringing everyone at Exit/In with them.
Icona Pop at Culture Collide last year. Photo credit: Owen Ela
The Swedish duo rocked out hard, not playing to the crowd at first but just doing their own thing. The electro beats and flashes of music videos on the screen behind them portrayed Icona Pop in a new light. Natural attention grabbers, these girls played on through the night doing some original DJ mixes and showing how untamed they can be. The band was having just as much fun as the fans were.
All fans present at this concert left pumped and ready for action. Boosted from the electro beats, flashy lights and ultramodern vibe, it was on to the after party!