“Jingle Ball” Rocks — Written By Matt Williams

Jingle BallIt was a night of an eclectic mix of music and holiday fun at Mercy Lounge on Monday December 5. As the holiday leg of BMI’s “8 off 8th” series, 10 artists took to the “Jingle Ball” stage to showcase awesome talent and spread live and loud holiday cheer.

The crowd size varied throughout the night, but was wildly excited the entire time. Each artist only played for 15 minutes, which meant frequent breaks… not entirely ideal for a showcase; however, the incredible talent easily overshadowed the intermittent waiting periods.

First on the bill was Devious Angels, an acoustic duo composed of “Steevie” Steeves and Jon Decious. Their self-proclaimed “homegrown sentiment meets dive bar attitude” showed through as their country sound and rock edge drew the crowd towards the stage.

Next on stage was Yellowire, a band that came all the way from England. After a great up-tempo start, front man Ol Beach switched from guitar to piano for a couple mid-tempo electro acoustic anthems with a sound fit for festivals.

Following the British rockers were the “Road to Bonnaroo” winners, Uncle Skeleton. The ensemble had no less than 10 people on stage, including three violins front and center, a horn section, a couple keyboards and guitars. The first couple songs had no words, just a mass collection of groovy sound. The band ended with a jamming cover of Wonderful Christmas Time.

No one could quite prepare for what came next: YouTube sensation Human Snow Globe. Yes, the name speaks for itself, it was a man in an inflatable bubble (accompanied by far too many “inflation” jokes) with fake snow and Christmas lights. Nothing more needs to be said, you can check it out here.

Changing pace again, rapper Chancellor Warhol took the stage. With turntables, a drum kit and a couple backup singers, Warhol brought the house down, frequently jumping down in front of the stage and up on the speakers. His smooth flow, clever punch lines and catchy hooks definitely made this kid something to watch.

Nashville natives Colorfeels provided an instrumentally and vocally riveting performance next. Several members of the band were multi-instrumentalists, and one included such diversity as a clarinet, a flute and a xylophone. Their slower numbers were pleasant and whimsically musical while their upbeat songs had the crowd on its feet with an inventive plethora of sound.

One of the most-talked-about acts of the day was The Kicks. Mixing classic, old school rock style with modern rock sensibilities and three-piece harmonies, these guys were superb. Think Rolling Stones meets Boston with an alternative twist. Three songs didn’t seem to do them justice, though keeping the spirit alive, they finished with a Christmas original.

Maybe it was because The Kicks blew everyone away, or maybe it was because the upcoming front man was slightly bizarre and mildly off-color, but Brandon Jazz and His Armed Forces did not resonate as a stand out act of the evening. However, the talent on stage was obvious, and the performance was high energy with smoke, lights, and a slew of people dancing down front. One song was an electronic/rock/rap hybrid, containing a synthesizer sample of Paul Simon’s Bodyguard.

The second to last band of the evening was Focus on the 615 friends TOY. Their dark, electronic rock sound with lead vocals by Alana Grace was nothing short of kick-ass. Instead of writing more about them here, check back for a more in-depth look at TOY featuring an exclusive interview from the evening!

Closing the evening (at whatever hour it may have been) was merging stars The Co. An incredible piano track mixed with powerful vocals to make memorable tunes that will no doubt land this Nashville band on the airwaves. With upbeat tunes such as Keep It Together and more personal numbers such as How to Say Goodbye, The CO was a great way to end the night.

“8 off 8th,” is BMI’s free weekly showcase held every Monday night at Mercy Lounge. Hosted by a rotating lineup of music community impresarios, each night features several local (and sometimes nationally touring) artists and serves as ground zero for Nashville’s bourgeoning indie rock scene.

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