Nobody's Vault But Mine
- Article by: Jamie McCormick, Photos by: Jamie McCormick
- Posted: 06/01/2011
Saturday night, Nashville’s Mercy Lounge hosted Third Man Records’ second annual fan appreciation festival, “Nobody’s Vault But Mine.”
Opening to a sparse crowd who looked to primarily be with the band, White Buffalo Woman, who traveled from the Midwest to open the festival for the second consecutive year, started off slow and a bit lethargic on stage. But as vocalist Evan Rutledge played air guitar while staring out the window and singing about freedom, the easygoing rock groove started to set a vibey mood for the evening.
The Turncoats, who turned out to be a motley crew of youngsters from Bloomington, Illinois, flowed right along in that lackadaisical groove.
Hyper-energetic drummer aside, the frontmen did the two-step through the entire set, making the music more enjoyable if you stared at your shoes.
But when long-time local favorites The Ettes took the stage, back to a trio once again, they upended the torpor and tore up the stage. With an upbeat, bluesy set and a drummer who kept time with her hair, The Ettes showed how far they have come over the past few years.
The bass line thumped, the patio emptied and everyone got on the floor and jumped. With a mix of old tunes and a few previews from the new album, Wicked Will, The Ettes sent Mercy’s blood pressure through its own roof.
In a double-reverse hand-off, supposed-to-be-headliners the Dex Romweber Duo took the stage early, pulling in the biggest crowd of the evening. Romweber, who in some ways might just have made the whole evening possible, is credited in the documentary It Might Get Loud with molding Third Man guru Jack White into the rock icon he has become.
Romweber’s sister, Sara, joined him on stage and on the drums, a fitting parallel to The White Stripes, and the duo played a very raw, very real set in near darkness—all the better to hear you with, my dears. There was even an intro so smashing they decided to play it twice. (It might have been a technical issue, but that’s my theory anyway ...).
By the time Miami garage pop rockers the Jacuzzi Boys took the stage as impromptu headliners, more than a few fans were rearing to dance. Like the carefully cultivated “sexy bed hair” look, the Jacuzzi Boys bring a refined sound that takes old indie dogs and teaches them new tricks. Cascading bass lines washed over slap back vocals, and the audience enjoyed lounging in the waterfall mist zone.
Day one complete, the drummers took top prize for consistency and energy, and one lucky fan took home a Butterfinger candy bar from a silent auction.
Day two brought hard-rocking, female-fronted locals The Grayces, whose energy-packed music vied with bassist Patrick Ward’s onstage antics for supremacy. The fight was a draw, and the crowd came out the winners. The Grayces, with an enticing and distinct sound that has a way of inducing your head to move involuntarily, silenced all conversation.
Smokers came back inside, the bar staff stopped working to watch—no one was pulling their eyes away from the stage long enough to order drinks anyway. Conversations ended mid-sentence. Unique and catchy, The Grayces’ killer vocals and solid style opened the day off right
TMR-related band and Nashville’s Dead alums D. Watusi, fronted by the red-headed band name contributor sporting giant X’s on his hands, continued the romping with a simple but enticing rock formula. Everyone was jumping, onstage and off, and the music slammed with the beat. Though young, the quartet have found their je ne sais quoi, and they rocked it to its limit.
When The 1-10’s took control of the wheel, they led an explosively psychedelic trip through just about every genre within reach, generating enough power and excitement to solve the national energy crisis.
Vocal Will Floyd romped all over the stage and the crowd while his bandmates killed a series of intricate riffs behind him. Steadily gaining a reputation for unflagging performances, the 1-10’s did not deviate from that formula here, churning out an engaging performance that shook the room.
PUJOL brought the stage energy down several notches, simply standing on top of his amp, but the musical intensity remained high. For Daniel Pujol, delicate vocals belie powerful writing, both lyrically and musically, and his set was a raging success, though it didn’t rage itself. Sometimes the pen really is mightier.
To finish the evening, the announcer heralded “some guy named Ben Swank and some of his buddies” to tumultuous cheers from an undissipated crowd. Swank is the middle-aged co-founder of Third Man Records whose band Henry and June formed when he was in high school.
Despite decades of performances, the group still keeps it loose and easy. They failed to prepare a set list, and vocalist Jimmy Danger had to call for someone to bring them a CD from the merch table so they would know what to play. Organization aside, Henry and June played an incredible set, a fitting finish to a weekend of great music.
2011’s iteration of Nobody’s Vault But Mine was bigger and better than last year’s, and fans of smashingly extraordinary independent music can only hope it will continue to grow, generating more buzz and compiling ever-greater artists. And hey, maybe next year, they’ll auction off a Reese’s.
To see more of Jamie’s photography, or to inquire about booking, visit www.seriesofstills.com