One of Nashville's newest venues, High Watt, played host to buzzmaking Indie Rockers The Mynabirds, who are in the midst of a headlining club tour capitalizing on last year's successful tour opening for Bright Eyes, on June 29.
Opening acts for this set were family band Matrimony and Sean Bones. Both ably performed their duties of getting the crowd warmed up for the main event, with Matrimony blasting through a short set of Indie Pop originals with a Rock edge and Sean Bones bringing some Rockabilly guitar work to his set of Indie/Americana rock. While both sets had their high points, Matrimony especially seemed tight on this day and they may be a group worth keeping an eye on in the future.
From there, The Mynabirds took the stage with typical theatrical flourish. Always in control of the audience, lead vocalist and primary songwriter Laura Burhenn took the stage in her trademark fox hat for an hour long set that careened between danceable pop numbers, slow love ballads, and political protest songs from their newest album "Generals". Often these three types of songs existed in the same space, with Burhenn proving that you really can pen a song protesting war and greed that is still imminently danceable.
The small but dedicated audience hung on Burhenn's every word and happily played along with her many audience participation numbers. Burhenn even walked out into the crowd to sing one song from the audience's perspective.
Burhenn is a force of nature and a walking anachronism. Undeniably cut from today's Indie Rock cloth, she still manages to look like she just stepped out of a time machine from the '70's. With her skinny frame, impossibly long legs, and interesting fashion choices, she was like someone took 70's Supermodel Twiggy, gave her Stevie Nicks' vocal range and wardrobe and added in a dash of Janis Joplin swagger for good measure.
But the real star of the night was the venue itself. The High Watt continues the tradition of impressive concert spaces within The Mercy Lounge complex. Smaller than its sister across the way, The High Watt boasts the seating capacity of your average bar, but brings the advantage of being a real concert venue rather than just a small riser stuck over beside the beer. It should quickly become a destination site for smallish and regional artists to prove themselves in front of an intimate crowd before graduating to one of the venue's two larger concert spaces.