If there ever was a place for a birthday party, it’s a bowling alley. Better yet, it’s a bowling alley with a vast bar and venue to boot.
The 10-track LP officially greeted the world July 7th.
The band has been a staple in the Nashville scene and beyond for over a decade, garnering much acclaim and a solid fan following. In 2012, they won the Converse Battle of the Bands at the Journey’s Backyard BBQ in Nashville, reached No. 14 on the Billboard Next Big Sound Chart, and performed at Warped Tour.
The Nearly Deads popularity and recognition earned them shows and tour dates with bands like Halestorm, All American Rejects, Tonight Alive, and In This Moment among others.
After a less than ideal cheeseburger and chili dog from an unnamed establishment, I moseyed into the Eastside Bowl, which if you haven’t been, is the closest you might get to a modern 1977.
With all kinds of retro color schemes, funky carpet patterns, and booths with vibrant neon tables donning different 70s-era rock bands, the place stimulates the nostalgic senses no doubt.
As I made my way down the long corridor between the booths and the bar, a swingin’ jazz band was kickin’ it at the Low Volume Stage. “Surely this couldn’t be The Nearly Deads,” I thought, knowing the answer.
Jazz in the front, rock in the back.
Cutting across to the adjacent hallway, I wandered down and in through the double doors, making it to the main stage.
Shortly after securing a clear plastic cup of water from the orange water cooler at the end of the bar, I posted up, watching Sleeper Signal start to fire up their set.
With a mix of Stone Temple Pilots meets Linkin Park, the band ripped heavy through their set. With a red guitar slung down low, the tall slender lead singer covered in tattoos led the firestorm of sound, putting his rock and roll front man chops on display.
Needless to say it was a good night to remember earplugs.
After the set during some finger snappin’ acoustic jazzy interlude music, there seemed to be a pressing matter with some of the equipment in the back right corner of the stage. Several band members and others gathered around in concern, scratching their chins and shaking their heads. As the minutes continued, it seemed to be a troublesome development.
“Is there a doctor of rock in the house?! If so, make your way to the stage, STAT,” is what I imagined one of them shouting.
It seemed dire for a good bit, but before I knew it, some nightmarish tick tock of the clock sounds came through the speakers with some muffled voices, giving off something of a Nightmare on Elm Street vibe.
And in no time, lead singer Theresa Jeane (TJ) hopped on stage in her fishnet stockings and voiced to the crowd, “How’s everybody doing tonight?!”
Just like that, it was off to the races.
The band got off to a hot start, firing away with both tried and true Nearly Deads’ classics paired with many a new song from the album. TJ’s energy was palpable and unrelenting, as she darted around on stage, hopped on monitors, flipped her hair, gestured to the crowd, and otherwise belted out lyric after lyric.
By and large, the energy was hard and driving in the emo alt-rock sense, and I was a little disappointed the crowd never once swirled into a mosh pit. It certainly didn’t call for a rough one, just a good-spirited shoving around. But there was none. Had I been 10 years younger and not with pen in hand, I might’ve. We’ll never know.
With new tracks like “Suffocating,” “Relentless,” and “Wild,” the band delivered to the modest yet eager crowd. The latter of which was a good, mellow change of pace, as her husband gave her a chair to sit on while she sang this inspirational number of just gentle guitar picking and a shaker. She called everyone to huddle up close to the stage, putting their cell phone lights on and in the air.
“The world is for the dreamers,” she sang. “Stay wild.”
The Nearly Deads’ closed with another thrash rocker, and left no stone unturned for their album’s birthday party. It was a night of raw energy, inspirational words, and ripping guitars.
I just wish they had cake.
Featured photo by Daniel Howell, Black Owl Media