Live on the Green – Rain Can’t Stop the Music

Live on the greenLast night, as I stood in the crowd, struggling to take notes on wet pages of my notebook, everyone who noticed what I was up to asked the same question. “Are you going to write about the rain?”

It’s true. For the first time in 33 dates of Lightning 100’s Live On The Green, the rain did its’ best to steal the show, but we, the fans, took it back.

Maybe the clouds knew All Them Witches was up first. The dark thunderheads gathered overhead for a closer view as the wailing harmonica and guitars pierced the speakers, screaming back at the menacing mob. Michael Parks, lead vocalist and bass player, oozed effortless rock, daring the sky to open up.
Midway through the set, the rain called their bluff. Outstretched arms reached up from the crowd to catch the late summer drops before all hell came down.

Until the set was cut short due to lightning, the crowd stood their ground. Some ducked under umbrellas, lawn chairs, or the VIP tent, but others danced in the rain. Everyone always hopes for good weather, but the brave-hearted give everything to the show.

Between the first and second set, another type of spectacle spontaneously erupted. The lawn on the green became a playground for concertgoers with massive puddles beckoning to be entertained. Ladies held hands and slid through the mud while fellas danced and fell into the water. Even All Them Witches’ Michael Parks made a splash sliding through the grass.

As the rain subsided, the larger crowd of thousands of soggy Nashvillians emerged from hiding, chanting and bellowing. And wet or not, spirits were high as Lightning 100’s Lieutenant Dan gave everyone the “all clear” for the show to continue.

The Features blasted into their set with a healthy dose of 1960’s garage rock and new wave tendencies. Though from Sparta, TN, The Features have been fully adopted by Nashville as one of it’s ‘own.’ When lead singer, Matt Pelham, told the crowd, “Thanks for sticking around!” he was clearly talking to his friends and neighbors and these folks wouldn’t leave him for just a little rain.

Wrapping up their set and with the show back in full swing, Lightning 100’s morning show host Wells Adams and evening show host Justin Hammel prepped the crowd for the headliner. Looking out over the mass of people, Wells screamed, “This is what’s awesome about Nashville, Tennessee! You said ‘To Hell with it’ and stuck around!” [Queue the screaming crowd]
With everyone fully primed, the VIP section pushing to the stage, and the lawn now once again full of bodies, Capital Cities took the stage, calling the crowd to order as they launched into “Kangaroo Court.” The earlier sparse crowd of mud-soaked, rain weary music lovers was fully alive and in motion again.

“How important is music to Nashville?” said lead vocalist Ryan Merchant and he smiled as the crowd responded with a screaming cacophony. The truth is, he already knew the answer. When the band took the slippery stage and looked at the hazy Nashville skyline as thousands upon thousands of Nashvillians danced and sang in heavy wet clothes, there was no other possibility. Live on the Green is free and no one has to stay, but they did.

Maybe the Capital Cities encore “Nothing Compares 2 U” was a bit of validation. As Ryan and Sebu Simonian sang, “Girl, you better try to have fun no matter what you do,” the crowd was one step ahead and clearly have the time of their lives. Truth is, music trumps rain and, rain or shine, nothing compares to Nashville.

– Henry Pile for Lightning 100’s Live On The Green

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