It was December 18, 1997 when The Festivus episode of Seinfeld aired. It unleashed the idea of an alternative to Christmas. Twenty-two years later Nashville Radio Station Lightning 100 had their own Festivus with “traditions” from the sitcom including The Airing of Grievances (displayed on a Twitter Wall) and The Metal Pole (spotlighted in a photo booth). Three bands also performed for the celebration.
Nashville’s own Anderson East brought his soulful songs and smooth dance moves to the Festivus. The singer wore an ensemble of a wrinkled jacket and scuffed shoes. On the other hand, brothers Scotty Murray (guitar player) and Jon Murray (bass player) sported stylish hats and black suits. East sang highlights from his ever-growing catalog of original soul tracks such as All On My Mind, King for a Day, and Girlfriend. The icing on the Festivus cake were the cover songs. East’s version of Bruce Springsteen’s Hungry Heart transforming the classic rock track to a gospel hymn.
Trumpet player Ben Clark and Saxophonist Nate Heffron made it possible to recreate the signature horn riffs for Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer. East brought out opener Lucie Silvas to change the song into a duet. I didn’t realize how sexual the lyrics were until the two singers looked each other in the eyes and sang, “Show me round your fruit cakes/ ‘Cause I will be your honey bee/ Open up your fruit cakes/ Where the fruit is as sweet as can be.” I guess it’s a holiday song because it mentions fruit cake.
Grammy Nominated Best New Artist Black Pumas were the second billed act. Since I saw the band open for St. Paul and the Broken Bones last year, their stage show has gotten stronger and more dynamic. Frontman Eric Burton incorporated choreography with the backup singers while he leaped in and out of the crowd. Burton looked kinda of Christmasy in a red velvet jacket with gold buttons. Adrian Quesada quietly led the band while playing guitar. Burton pleased the crowd with their hits Black Moon Rising and Colors. The singer sat down on the edge of the stage and seductively sang the song Known You Better – “Let us be unified, baby/Out of this galaxy, moving/ Free in the way we move/ And she’ll catch the groove/ Make me see it through.” The audience was spellbound.
Opening the Festivus was another musician based in Nashville Lucie Silvas. She has written songs for Miranda Lambert, Katharine McPhee, and Reba McEntire. Silva is one of Brandi Carlile’s favorite musicians (in an effort to expose her music to a bigger audience, Carlile opened for her at the Boulder Theater back in September). Appearing in a low-cut red fringe dress, Silvas dedicated the soulful Everything is Beautiful to her friend Ben and his newborn baby. She looked the most comfortable sitting at the keyboards (probably due to the fact that Silvas has been playing the piano since she was five years old). Her husband John Osborne (from The Brothers Osborne) hopped on stage towards the end of her set. He showed off his impressive guitar playing dressed in a red flannel shirt and a scruffy beard looking like a Nashville version of Santa Clause.
See at the next show. I’ll be the one wearing red fringe wishing you a merry Festivus.