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The Head and the Heart: Live on the Green vs. Bonnaroo Performance

>>By Sean McCully, Staff Writer

Reviews, grooves and all things news. About music.

The Head and the Heart came to Nashville’s Live on the Green Thursday, Aug. 21. If you’ve been keeping up with The All State online over the summer, you’ll know TAS went to Bonnaroo in June, and you’ll also know The Head and the Heart were one of our favorite acts from the festival held in Manchester, Tenn. Surprisingly enough, though, The Head and the Heart’s Live on the Green performance and their Bonnaroo performance differed greatly, largely because of the two different venues and what they had to offer.

At Bonnaroo, The Head and the Heart came on Which Stage, which was one of the larger stages at Bonnaroo, at 6:30 p.m., and their set lasted until before 8 p.m. as the sun was setting. Full disclosure: I’ve never been a huge fan of The Head and the Heart, but they have an unrivaled talent in live performances. In other words, on a scale of Creed to Arcade Fire, with Creed making you want to sue because the show was so bad, and Arcade Fire being the show you never want to leave, The Head and the Heart are nestled right underneath Win Butler’s pilloughy bosom.

But getting back on track, The Head and the Heart’s performance at Bonnaroo was near perfect, with the highlights being their songs “Down in the Valley,” “Rivers and Roads” and “Lost in my Mind.” The Which Stage was such that The Head and the Heart could be easily seen from the back of the crowd where TAS had set up shop with blankets and shade in tow. It was apparent the entire crowd was there to see one of their favorite bands perform and have a sing-along with a couple thousand of their closest friends.

The Head and the Heart’s performance at Live on the Green Thursday, Aug. 21, was a completely different story. The indie folk group made their way to the stage at 9:15 p.m., and their set lasted for a little more than an hour, ending somewhere around 10:30. While their performance was comparable to their Bonnaroo set, evidenced specifically in their performance of “Rivers and Roads,” which features explosive vocals from primarily back-up vocalist Charity Thielen, the audience was entirely different at Live on the Green. The music seemed to be secondary to the ample supply of craft beer in the tents at the back of the venue. Not to say craft beer is an inherently bad thing, but when you repeatedly find people who have had one too many Blue Moons, it starts to get mildly infuriating. For the sake of all your fellow concert goers, please drink responsibly.

What seemed to spawn these huge differences in the two performances was the fact that Live on the Green is a free event hosted by Lightning 100, Nashville’s indie darling radio station, as opposed to Bonnaroo, where the average ticket is in the $200-$300 range. In other words, Bonnaroo was a destination for people excited to see four days of their favorite artists, and Live on the Green seemed to be just a thing to do on a Thursday night.

I may have been a little overly critical of Live on the Green, but that isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy myself. The people near me seemed to have been thoroughly overserved, so my opinion might be a bit tainted. I still sang a little too loudly and a little too off-key with the songs I knew the best and had a great time, all things considered. The artists Thursday, Aug. 28, are All them Witches, The Features and Capital Cities. TAS

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