Live on the Green

You will never forget aggressively shoving your way through the crowd of sweaty millennials, simultaneously making both friends and bitter enemies as you watch modern alt legends like Børns and Young the Giant.

Live on the Green, the six-day, two-weekend (completely free) outdoor concert in the heart of downtown Nashville is “Lit”—to quote a Middle Tennessee University student who kindly shined light on my notebook as I took notes on the event.  

Aside from Børns and Young the Giant, thirty two artists including Band of Horses, Passenger, and Judah and the Lion made it to Live on the Green’s stage this year.

At Live on the Green, one stumbles upon hundreds of attendees from all walks of life. The young and fanciful make their adrenaline-fueled way to the front row, while the older, seasoned veterans hang back with their lawn chairs, just happy to enjoy the live music. Other attendees include indifferent passersby who are just ready to “hang.”

Both Børns and Young the Giant gave incredible performances. Though equally entertaining, their performance styles are polar opposites and elicited differing reactions from the audience.

Børns, the first of the two acts of the evening, performed with a slinky sensuality. The looseness of his body and the mellowness of his speaking voice led me to believe that he was high. His performance style is very similar to Lana Del Rey’s, in that there is not a lot of performance to it. Both simply send out a cool attitude and the crowd goes wild. For Børns and Lana, attitude is their brand.

Børns is very flirtatious with his audience.  Mid-concert, he cooed to the churning pit of fans below him, “There’s a lot of angels in this audience, I can even see some of your halos.” This statement was followed by squeals of excitement. The performance fueled  Børn’s sexy, mellow vibe: young couples swayed, looking into each other’s eyes longingly, while single fans sang Børns lyrics right back to him.

Young the Giant put on a much more open and energetic performance, thanks to frontman Sameer Gadhia. From the first base notes of “Something To Believe In,” Sameer put his heart and soul into his music. It took me back to the energy that Chris Martin brought to the stage in the 2008 Viva La Vida tour. The front man brought so much electricity to the venue, the audience felt as they too were on stage with him, just as hyped to be there as he is.

After the third song in their set, Gadhia picked up a shoestring that a fan had thrown on the stage during the previous set. “When people throw stuff (on stage), you’re like, do people actually keep that stuff and, well, I do.” Directly after Gadhia announced this, someone in the audience threw a glow at the singer. Gadhia coolly responded with: “Well I asked for that. I did that at another concert and got hit in the head with a beach ball. He is a performer who creates a genuine connection with his audience.

I spoke with two fans who had been waiting for months to see Børns and Young the Giant live. When they listed their favorite songs, the first they listed were the hits: “Electric Love” and “Cough Syrup.”

I think that is a testament to your abilities as an artist, you win the fans with your hits, but they stay because they have faith in what comes next.