In the midst of CMA Fest on Friday night, there was an early and elongated line forming outside of the treasured Exit/In to see not country music, but rather Australian indie rockers, Last Dinosaurs.
Loyal fans adorned in ‘Los Dinos’ merch waited for the doors to open on the beautiful weekend evening. Groups intermingled as the drums and guitar could be heard soundchecking inside. Upon the doors opening, there was an immediate rush to the merch line. People trickled in steadily and found seats upstairs, while some were already pushed against the stage waiting for the rockers to begin the show.
Up and coming in the indie rock scene, Last Dinosaurs hail from across the world in Brisbane, Australia. The band is made up of sibling duo Sean and Lachlan Caskey, with Michael Sloan joining the brothers on bass. The Dinos have performed many times in Australia and Europe, however they aren’t often on tour in the United States. It was no shock that people were anxiously anticipating their Nashville show.
First up was Boy Wonder, a solo act from Toronto, Canada. He opened the show promptly at 8 P.M., sitting behind a kick drum and holding a guitar. The blue lighting set a chill mood for the opener, who sang, played guitar, and kept time using the kick drum with one foot and a snare with the other. As he played, more people filed in and hit the bar, mingling softly behind him. Toward the end of his set, he brought out a maraca and used it to play slide guitar.
The second opener, Rebounder, began their set with a big entrance. The four-piece band stole everyone’s attention, getting people bopping around to the vibrant opening tunes. The New York City-based band was also composed of two brothers, with a sound that alluded to 80’s nostalgia combined with a modern day feel. Their set finished strong; the crowd began loosening up. Everyone was clapping and jumping around, getting hyped for the headliners.
After much anticipation, the lights finally dimmed and a thick layer of fog took over the room. The crowd cheered as the band ran onto the stage, beginning their set with the song, “Take Your Time.” There were six big lights on the stage, all which flashed in hues of oranges and reds, matching the crowd’s warmth and energy. Frontman Sean Caskey greeted the crowd and then the band took off from there, speaking more so with music than words.
Toward the middle of the set, the crowd erupted with excitement after hearing the first note of their song “Andy.” A loyal curly-haired fan got handed a guitar pick from the lead singer, after he noticed them singing every word. People packed toward the stage, coming down from the balcony area, and as the show went on, the crowd’s volume increased to a fever pitch with the band.
There was a small mosh pit that swirled, and people were bouncing around like pin balls, taking videos, and scream-singing along. Sean and Lachlan traded off singing about every other song, and hit impressive harmonies while banging out some solos. The energy on stage translated to the crowd, which resulted in an environment where everyone was immersed in the moment. It was obvious that the members of Last Dinosaurs were purely there for the music and to have fun- and such is the magic of a beloved venue like the Exit/In to facilitate such feelings.
After the set was over, the Dinos couldn’t even set their guitars down before the crowd started screaming for an encore. Coming back to the stage, Caskey told the crowd, “We don’t get to come to America often, so we’ll play two more songs.” Frankly it should’ve been four. Or five.
This was enough to get the crowd wild again, and the lead singer told the story behind their song, “Honolulu.” It was one of the first songs he ever wrote and thought of it as a joke; however, the band now plays it all the time. The crowd screamed along to the opening “Heys!”, and the band beamed with excitement under the vibrant stage lights. They closed their electric set with, “Eleven,” their twangy guitars ringing out over the audience.
Despite the roar of the CMA fest from Downtown Nashville, Last Dinosaurs turned up the music one more notch to ring out over Music City. The band will be back on the road and playing in Texas and on to Colorado this week.