After having exceptional weather all week, the skies darkened on Friday night to rain down on Nashville, accompanied with some chilly winds. However, this didn’t stop people from going out to see an electrifying performance at EXIT/IN where Kat Saul, a local indie-pop artist from Nashville, let loose. Around a hundred people powered through the rain to get to the venue and pack themselves tight for a great night.
Kicking off the night was the band Sadie Hawkins, which had a large ensemble of instruments: three electric guitars, three different main vocalists, background vocalists, drums, keys, and a bassist. The band was met with cheers as they took the stage, and kicked off with an upbeat and whimsical sounding song that had such a large, open sound that drew in the audience. The harmonies of all the instruments along with the three vocalists really gave the composition depth and had everyone swaying along with delight. They went on to sing seven different songs, each of the main vocalists switching off the lead vocal parts and having different instrumentalists have their time to shine with different solos as well. They had more of a folk sounding indie-pop vibe, which helped them stand out as well as hype up the crowd for the next performances.
The next artist to take the stage was the band No Coast, who had a more alternative indie-pop sound, featuring some fun synth sounds, as well as involving a trumpet player to spice things up. The band definitely gave off the vibe of a bunch of guys just having fun playing music, which was encapsulated by everyone in the band playing off of one another, and grooving along to the songs. They went on to play seven different songs, one being a cover of DNCE’s “Cake By the Ocean,” showing off their main vocalist’s range, along with some upbeat fun songs, sprinkled in with some slower, more emotional tracks. They had the crowd energetic and primed for the final and primary performance of the night.
After two entertaining acts, it was time for Kat Saul. The stage was donned with a pink and blue neon sign that spelled out Saul’s name, and a large screen with a video projected on it from the top balcony of the venue. The video contained different shots of Saul that was overlaid with a dialog about what making and performing music has meant to her over the past few years. It was very sentimental and inspiring, and as soon as the video faded to black, the drums and guitar started playing an intense, driving rhythm. Saul then emerged onto the stage, and was met with many a cheer from the crowd. Saul’s band was smaller than the previous opening acts, with only drums, guitar, and keys, but that didn’t mean her sound was any smaller.
The first song of the night was Saul’s newest single, “I Love to Hate You,” which flowed right in from the beat that Saul walked out to. It was a fun and energetic song that had everyone in their crowd bobbing their heads and dancing along to the beat. The lights, which were stationary and changed colors only a few times for the other opening acts, swirled around the stage and changed colors frequently to match the mood of the song. Saul was truly in her element, taking up the space of the stage by moving around dancing and interacting with the crowd.
After the electrifying start to her set, Saul then kept the energy going with her next song, “Bite.” The lights changed to a deeper red, changing the mood from a driving song to more angry energy, which was also encapsulated by Saul’s voice and body language as she performed. The song also featured an interesting synth part that brought more dynamic to the performance as well. Keeping that same energy but shifting to a happier tone, Saul then played a fan favorite (according to all the cheers as she announced it), “Nick Miller.” This song had a fun, bouncing beat that had everyone in the crowd dancing along and even some voices rang out to sing along. Saul went on to sing one more song that continued to have that fun pop sound before transitioning to her fifth song of the night, which was more emotional and a bit slower, showing off more of Saul’s vocal range.
After capturing the audience’s attention even further, Saul left the stage for a bit, only to come back out with a sparkling coat and an acoustic guitar. She took a moment to speak to everyone that came to her show and said that she wanted to perform some of her songs acoustically. It was interesting to see Saul as a pop artist perform two of her next songs with just her voice and a guitar, which gave her voice more time to shine and also helped the audience focus more on Saul’s lyrics and songwriting. Even without the fun synths and electric guitar, Saul still managed to make her acoustic songs drive, with fast-paced lyrics and simple but engaging picking patterns on the acoustic guitar. Saul showcased her versatility as an artist with this portion of the set.
After picking up the electric guitar and warming up the band, Saul then made an announcement that there were two special guests in the audience that night. She brought up two fans that have been following her since her first single was released, and they drove all the way up from Alabama to celebrate one’s birthday. She invited them to stay up on stage and sing the next song with her, a cover of Katy Perry’s “Hot and Cold,” and while shy at first, they both agreed, and seemed to be having fun singing up on stage with Saul.
Saul then finished out the rest of the night with three more original songs that showed off more of her band’s instrumental talent, showcasing more guitar solos and groovy synth parts that had the crowd cheering and swinging their hips to the rhythm. Saul also continued to light up the stage with her presence, showing off her dance moves and impressive vocal talent.
Photo Cred: Matt Blum