Nashville Nights: Noah Kahan Plays The Cannery Ballroom

On an otherwise mundane and calm Wednesday night, a crowd was starting to assemble outside The Cannery Ballroom. Inside the venue, men and women largely in their twenties to thirties were packed in the standing room to get the best view of the stage, all ready for a night of great music.

To set the mood for the night, the opening band was Nashville-based indie band The Brook & The Bluff. They started off the night with a fast, upbeat song that was light and airy, while providing a punch of soul. The band consisted of 2 guitarists, a bassist, keys, and drums with each instrumentalist also being a vocalist. This made for some incredible 3 and 4 way harmonies, coupled with their floating melodies.

The Brook & The Bluff continued to warm up the crowd with some faster, booming beats that had the audience dancing along, as well as some slower tunes that had everyone swaying. One of their previous singles, “Rush,” had the audience waving their arms to the rhythm and cheering for the guitar solos and 3-part harmonies. Other songs had chord progressions that leaned a bit on the jazz spectrum, and continued to surprise and entrance the crowd with their performance.

To end their opening set, the Nashville band played one of their newest singles, “Halfway Up,” which was met with a lot of cheers from the crowd, evidently a fan favorite. The song really brought a lot of the bands talents together, with a groovy beat that allowed for some great instrument solos, as well as showcasing everyone’s voices with their harmonies. It was truly a joy to watch them perform, since they worked the stage well and played off of one another to make their set equal parts authentic and entertaining.

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After an energetic performance from The Brook & The Bluff, the crowd was ready for the headliner, Noah Kahan, to take the stage. For anyone familiar with Kahan’s album art, the stage might have looked a little familiar. The backdrop had a lot of props and artwork that was directly from his album art, illustrations of mountains and trees illuminated by cool colors as the band was setting up.

Twenty minutes after the opening band left the stage, the lights began to dim and band members took the stage in the misty darkness. As they began to play a vaguely familiar tune, Noah Kahan himself walked onstage with an acoustic guitar to open with a solo song that immediately made his first single, “Hold it Down,” become instantly recognizable and earned lots of cheers from the crowd.

As he finished his first song, Kahan addressed the crowd by saying how happy he was to be back in Nashville, and have everyone come out to see him on a Wednesday night. Loud cheers and shouts of “I love you” were exclaimed back to him right before he responded, “I love you too,” and jumped into his next song.

Noah continued to play some of his earlier singles to start off the night which had the crowd both singing and clapping along to the familiar rhythms. Kahan would switch back and forth between an acoustic and electric guitar depending on what the song called for, since Kahan is known for a lot of his songs having a strong acoustic guitar presence within them. The first four songs settled within that mid-tempo range, not too fast and not too slow, but things started to pick up when Kahan played the first song on his debut record, “False Confidence.”

“False Confidence” starts off deceivingly slow, but immediately picks up at the chorus and had the entire crowd dancing and singing along to the fast and rhythmic melody.  Kahan continued to ride the energy of the crowd with his next song, “Cynic,” which is slightly slower but still maintains a swifter energy. Kahan then brought the energy back to a sadder tone with the song, “Save Me,” to which the name of his tour is based on.  This song took that energy from the earlier songs and turned it into a quiet understanding, probably some in the crowd having felt the same emotions being sung about by Kahan before. It was a powerful performance that brought tears to some eyes.

Kahan then went on to introduce his next song as being written right here in the good ole city of Nashville, and also one that he credits kick starting his career. He then played the popular, “Hurt Somebody,” that had everyone hooting and hollering, moving to the beat of a fast tempo song with a sadder meaning.   

Kahan continued to ride his wave of upbeat tempos to sad, more emotional songs until he came to his last song, “Mess.” While it was a solid song to end on, the Cannery Ballroom crowd wanted more, and continued to cheer until Kahan’s drummer came back out onstage. He started off with some simple drum beats, but then continued to wail out an epic solo that had the crowd hooting and clapping. As the drummer finished up, the rest of the band and Kahan came back out to play two more songs, “Catastophize” and “Young Blood”- more crowd favorites. As Kahan left the stage for the final time, he again proclaimed how grateful and happy he was for everyone coming out that night to listen to his music.

Despite some of Kahan’s song having some somber themes, everyone in the crowd left with a huge smile on their face, having experienced a great night of music that told some profound stories accompanied by exceptional instrumentalists.

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