April 5th, Nashville’s Exit/In started it’s night off feeling a heatwave of dark surf from the opening act, The Tenders. The first thing you notice when walking in on the set is the amount of detail put into it. From inflatable sharks laying on beach chairs, to flowers adorning the mic stands, beach balls flying in the air, to even the costume designs (which will literally have you seeing doubles). Every element was purposed to placing you into a weird prehistoric-tropical reality where the Flintstones were spring breaking in Hawaii. The lethal combination between the set design and the raw energy that screamed ‘Hey, the world’s ending so let’s f$&@ing party,’ reduced what was the timid audience into a primitive head bobbing state.
After The Tenders were served, the crowd took a BIG BITE into the next set. Nothing? Ok. Well, bad jokes aside Big Bite (the band), took the stage with wailing guitar hooks that would have Muhammad Ali on his toes. Although the set design leaves a lot to be desired, especially after The Tenders, the energy transitioned flawlessly into the distortion heavy punk scene that became synonymous to the Seattle’s sound scape.
The bold and fuzzy sounds although drowning out the vocals, showcased their upbringing and technical skill beautifully allowing for their instruments to speak for themselves. Leaving the crowd almost too pumped for the final act, The Coat Hangers. I went outside for some fresh air, only to be greeted by multiple groups of fans discussing amongst themselves in anticipation for the Coat Hangers. It was a very relaxing mood with everyone smoking and laughing. It was only later when The Coat Hangers inside hit the ground running with a vicious and aggressive attack that the casual atmosphere of the room outside evaporated and the audience began flooding in. As if a dinner bell was rang for a pack of hungry wolves.
It was a very surreal experience walking in and getting your first impressions of the set as you wouldn’t necessarily connect the intimidating sound to the three fairly innocent looking women on stage. However, after a second to adjusting, it’s easy to see the appeal. The band owns their sound, playing with a cadence and charisma that can be akin to a train derailing. With their unorthodox blend of a frenzy inducing playing and melodic mesmeric chanting, the moody doom and gloom commands your attention in an almost morbid way and the band knows that. You can read it on their faces, their emotions on stage range from their natural fun loving group dynamic to their ‘if you look me in my eye I’ll cut you,’ glares. All of which culminates into a sexy swagger to the band that, dominates the crowd into nostalgic headbanging. Overall, the band plays with such a muscle memory over their instruments and the crowd, that it’s hard to see their roots as a band born from DIY in 2006. Yet, you have to remind yourself that everything you’re experiencing has been the amalgamation of 13 years of touring, hardships, and evolutions in sound. This is a set you will not forget.
Written by Jacky Dang
Photography by Alexandra Cole & Jacky Dang