Bowling Green bands ‘invade’ Nashville

Chris Rutledge

The Starry Nights Music Festival folks teamed up with Yellowberri Music Cooperative to give Nashville students an early welcome back, when the Mercy Lounge was “invaded” by Bowling Green.

Eight Bowling Green bands packed into the Nashville music venue to play “8 off 8th,” a free concert series the Mercy Lounge hosts every Monday. 
The invasion began with another invasion, when Buffalo Rodeo members were informed midway through setting up that Los Angeles band Instant People was going to open the show, bringing the band total to nine.

Around 9 p.m., a “who’s who” of the Bowling Green music scene began to trickle in including Matt and Brad Shultz from Cage the Elephant, who advertised the event on the band’s Facebook page. 
By the time Buffalo Rodeo finished its set an impressive audience had gathered.

Another face in the crowd was Starry Nights founder Bryan Graves, who uses these shows not only to promote his festival, but also to scout for talent.

“I know most of these bands from playing around town,” Graves said. “I just want people outside of Bowling Green to see what I see.”

Graves said that the decision to “invade” Nashville came from the key role the city played in getting Starry Nights off the ground. He went on to praise Nashville bands Space Capone and Moon Taxi, the latter of which headlined Starry Nights in the early years.

“Those guys helped get this thing going from the beginning,” he said.

Graves said he was very happy with the turnout.

“I don’t know how it normally is on a Monday night at the Mercy Lounge, but it was pretty packed in there,” he said.

Franklin senior Stefan Meadows’ band Rainbow Kitty Kitty was up next. Meadows, president of the film club at WKU, had only played in Nashville once prior, but said he hopes this will lead to future shows in the area.

“We’ve come down here our whole lives for shows,” he said. “With it being an hour away, it would be great to be a part of that scene.”

Meadows admitted that before his performance started he was a little nervous about playing in front of so many unfamiliar faces. But by midway through the set he was jumping up and down and screaming over loud, punky guitar licks.

Other bands that played included Fat Box, Billy Swayze, Black Shades, Plastic Friends, Lost River Cavemen and Schools.

Clarksville, Tenn., senior Ryan Southerland rode down with several friends, having never heard any of the bands.

“I just heard there was a free show with bands from Bowling Green,” he said.

Southerland said he was impressed with both the talent and the turnout. He attended Starry Nights in 2010, and said he hopes to see more free shows to promote the festival.

“I think it’s a great idea, trying to reach outside of Bowling Green,” he said. “It gets everybody’s names out there, and music-wise any publicity you can get, you should.”