Article and Photos: Nick Durcholz
Nashville, TN — There’s no better place to showcase the cacophonous heart of Beck than inside the contemporary, aural ribcage that is Ascend Amphitheater in downtown Nashville.
The cool, calm after a spring rain storm was cut by searing spice straight out of New Orleans. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band made the air electric. Strutting bass, soul-smearing sax, blistering drums and boisterous trombone all joined forces like a musical Voltron striking an epic beat that felt like it captured the whole city in a globe of groove.
Next to emit his own patchwork groove was Beck. From the kitschy hip-hop stylings of “Wow” to the baleful ballad “Country Down,” Beck tickled the nerve endings of every type of listener in the crowd. It was magical to share such a moment with so many people with tastes much different than my own. The setlist was much the same way, showing love to fans all across his catalogue. Personally, I was ecstatic to hear “Go It Alone” which he co-wrote with proud Nashville son Jack White. In addition to all the tunes, he really opened up to the crowd improvising from comedic to dramatic. While some patrons may not have enjoyed this, it’s my humble opinion that letting yourself be that vulnerable and mix things up in front of that many people takes guts.
It must be something in that music city night sky that really cajoles any musician and lover of music.