Friday night would be my first local show experience at Nashville’s East Room. Having moved here recently from New York this was my second show in the city made famous for music. Tonight’s billing would include three bands completely new to me, Sloan Woolly, Say Kids, and Dr. So. I was greeted at the door by Ben, bass player for Sloan Woolly who informs me that he is out of commission for this evening; a black wrist brace on his hand tells me why. He leads me outside for a chance to meet the other bands and I quickly realize how tight-knit a group of friends these guys are. In addition to playing shows together, Sloan Woolly and Say Kids would be sharing members for tonight’s event with the exception of lead singers and keys. You could almost say they were the same band with two unique sounds.
I spend the next half an hour or so getting to know these guys in one large group setting. I listen to stories of their proudest moments, like performing on the lawn of Belmont University for Fall Fest. They touch on the inner workings of the local Nashville music scene and their concerns over covid in relation to planning upcoming shows. Covid, like so many other things, derailed previous tour plans for them, as Peyton Smith, lead singer of Say Kids, explained. He still deserves his trip to New York.
They also school me on their affinity for local music legend Nordista Freeze as well as their favorite venues, including the now defunct Radio Cafe. They didn’t have to tell me, but I learn very quickly that these guys do what they do for the love of music and the chance to perform live. Money takes a back seat to passion for this group of enthusiastic melophiles. They enjoy every minute of what they do and seem to truly cherish the friendships and fans they have made along the way. I have never seen a group of musicians complement each other so much in almost 6 years of interviewing bands.
Kicking off the night of music was supposed to be Dr.So but due to unforeseen circumstances, most of the band was unable to perform. Instead, Billy Ayers (bass) filled in for an acoustic set of music. He held his own musically but indicated that the songs sound much fuller with the rest of the band. The crowd still loved every minute and it was a great opening segment to the evening of music ahead. I will have to make it a point to check Dr.So out when they can get the rest of the band on stage.
Next up was Say Kids, celebrating the release of their latest single “Bummed,” which can be found on all streaming platforms now, a song they very much looked forward to performing that evening, along with a slew of new songs from their upcoming EP. Almost immediately the crowd started dancing as they rocked their way through some killer psych funk songs. “Hootie Hoo” being my favorite of the set. It’s hard to pin down any type of genre for these guys but one thing is for sure it was non stop energy and fun. The crowd cheered “One more song! One more song!” as the band reluctantly left the stage. Say Kids is undoubtedly a band that should be a must-see whenever you see their name on an event listing.
Sloan Woolly gets their name from the remnants of their former moniker, “Mammoth,” a name created during their college years when they formed. Later, they reworked it taking on the “woolly,” which according to Henry Ingram (keyboards) was combined with the “Sloan” from Sloan digital sky survey (SDSS) due to his affinity with all things Astronomy. It would ultimately be a fitting description as this band transports you into space with their brand of blues rock. They wasted no time lighting the East Room on fire, I distinctly remember how tight they were as musicians and how well all instruments cohesively blended together. The sound of the “honky tonk” piano stuck in my head hours after the show. Lead singer Jack Seigenthaler has the stage presence of a seasoned vet. The crowd seemed to hang onto his every command. Screams rang out as he held his beer to the sky, imploring people to get closer to him. It was like a large family gathering, people dancing and laughing as they seemed so grateful and appreciative to be out experiencing live music once again. In any combination these bands are a must see in Nashville and anywhere else they might be performing. 10/10
For more information on the bands be sure to check out:
Sloan Woolly: https://sloanwoolly.com/
Say Kids: https://saykidsofficial.com/