Inner Wave & Huron John ignite Nashville’s Exit/In

It was painfully cold Friday night as I made my way into the heart of the downtown Nashville music scene. No, I am not talking about the dumpster fire known as Broadway; I am referring to the historic music staple known as Exit/In. Since 1971, Nashville’s Exit/In has earned a reputation for hosting some of the coolest and most innovative rock bands in the world. Making it, in my opinion, one of the last true rock venues in the area. This cold January night, the venue played host to the warm alt/indie sounds of California’s Inner Wave and local favorite Huron John. 

I knew almost nothing about Huron John prior to the show Friday… I’ve seen his name on the tour flyers, but haven’t had the chance to listen to anything he has released.

Upon first impressions, I thought he and his drummer looked really young — basically two kids in knit bucket hats, happy to be out playing music. I worried this was going to be the type of night where I was hoping the opener would just finish as quickly as possible. Not that I have anything against young musicians, but typically, their youth means inexperience in front of large crowds. Much to my delight, I was the guy yelling “one more song” by the end of their set! Huron John is one of those special talents in music that knows how to not only write great songs, but also truly captivate an audience. Even though barely 21 years of age, he played that crowd as if he has done it for decades. His music had great beats and I don’t think a single person in attendance stood still all night. He seems to experiment with so many different types of sounds — everything from chill wave to hip hop. I highly recommend giving his latest work Apocalypse Wow a listen to get a true sense of what he is all about. 

Inner Wave was introduced to me a couple of years ago by a fellow journalist, around the time their album Underwater Pipe Dreams had come out, and it was love at first listen. The music they create is undeniably beautiful, bordering on psychedelic and often transporting my mind to wonderful places. When I got the notification that they were coming to Nashville, I just had to be there. Prior to the band taking the stage, I had at least 10 people in the crowd tell me repeatedly how much they LOVED this band. I typically spend a few minutes asking the fans a few questions about the bands performing, but I have never had fans gush so hard. One guy in particular assured me he was going to cry as soon as they took the stage.

Inner Wave consists of absolutely phenomenal performers and it felt as if they played every one of my favorite songs! My favorite of the night was “Take 3” from their latest masterpiece, Apoptosis. During the performance, the band took a couple of moments to sing “Happy Birthday” to one particular fan and, while this act has been done many times before, it felt particularly profound this evening. Lately, it can seem that we are living in such a divisive time; it felt really wonderful to see everyone in the crowd singing a song to a complete stranger! I am sure it made her night and mine, as well. Inner Wave continues their Apoptosis Tour until the end of February, so be sure to add them to your concert calendar! They are a band you won’t want to miss!

Purchase or stream ‘Apoptosis’ album:

Photography by Derek Jones

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