- Article by: Ansley Quiros
- Posted: 08/30/2011
Friday, August 26, LEAGUES, the Nashville-based group composed of vocalist Thad Cockrell, drummer Jeremy Lutito, bassist Mike Simons and guitarist Tyler Burkum, played their first publicized Nashville show to a full and excited Mercy Lounge.
Many prominent musicians came out to support their colleagues and friends, including singer-songwriter Mat Kearney, with whom LEAGUES will be touring this fall. The newly formed group proclaims that “music is a gift” and that it is should be for “everyone” – a philosophy that translated perfectly into their Friday night show.
From the opening song – a hypnotic, full track where Cockrell sang out the lyric, “Love will be my advocate” – LEAGUES captivated the cheering crowd with a bright sound and unbridled energy.
“We need you to shake your ass!” Cockrell quipped at one point to the rollicking crowd. The energy was infectious, like LEAGUES’ catchy melodies. People swayed and clapped; they danced and sang in an exuberant, kinetic celebration of good music.
Cockrell’s soulful voice is recognizable but decidedly reincarnated for his new spot as LEAGUES’ frontman. The normally subdued singer was positively exuberant. He skipped and danced, clapped and grinned – he even stood on an amp at one point. The other musicians were clearly enjoying themselves as well, basking in the vibes of the responsive crowd.
Lutito’s robust drums anchored the performance as heads nodded in concert with the cymbals, while Simons’ bass and Burkum’s guitar displayed dazzling talent. At various points in the set, French horns, maracas and even jingle bells appeared on stage, part of the creative instrumentation that contributed to the full sound and reflected LEAGUES’ claim that music should be joyous and imaginative.
The band performed tracks from their self-titled EP, including “Haunted,” “Mind Games” and “Magic,” as well as some new, equally mesmerizing tunes. During one song, Cockrell crooned, “I don’t want no safety, I want to follow this vision,” a lyric that could serve as a mantra for the group, who seem to eschew the pretensions of the music industry or their own divergent musical pasts to make accessible music that people obviously enjoy.
After the last song in a set of about eight, the elated crowd cheered and applauded, calling the band back for an encore. Arms draped around one another and grinning, LEAGUES came back out to the roaring response. After a moment, Cockrell simply yelled out: “We’d play you another if we had one!”
LEAGUES, there’s no doubt that Nashville wants more.
"Magic" - Leagues