Exploring Nashville’s extensive list of musical offerings on any warm, muggy summer evening is bound to be fruitful, even on a Tuesday. This night, Ohio based rock/folk band The Speedbumps are performing at the notorious venue, The Basement. The Speedbumps just released their third full-length album When The Darkness Comes on July 14, which features the lead single, “Love Is War.”
The night is themed as ‘New Faces Night’ and a writer’s round is in progress upon arrival, featuring four singer-songwriters trading songs and sharing their latest work with the gradually growing crowd. The onlookers are enthusiastic and supportive, very common in Music City regardless of the stage presence or genre. Kelly Archer, Nicolette Hayford, Adam Wright, and Mando Saenz spend the hour sharing their songs and comfortable, friendly banter on stage. Following the writer’s round ‘New Faces Night’ begins. Songwriters Laura Rabell and Alexis Gomez share some country/folk tunes. Slark Moan plays a solo set with an array of vocal and guitar effects. The Kansas City based band Making Movies rips through a set equipped with Latin drum beats and even some political preaching, at one point holding up a flag that states ‘We Are All Immigrants’. New York’s own Eva Lin follows the energetic, socially relevant set with an equally powerful repertoire of bluesy rock numbers, her sensational, soulful voice leading an exceptional backing band. This is rock-n-roll.
Needless to say The Speedbumps had some tough acts to follow, but this doesn’t phase the band. Nashville is their last stop before heading back to Ohio. The live set is a touch more raw than what you will find on the album, but the band’s well-orchestrated songs leave little room for noise or mistakes. Erik Urycki fronts the band, strumming full chords on his Stratocaster and crooning the intense and very real lyrics. He is backed by Bethany Svoboda, with her dreamy harmonies and simple keyboards. Danny Jenkins on drums and Kevin Martinez on stand up bass are a tight rhythm section, leaving cellist Sam Kristoff plenty of room to play sweeping droney leads, often kicking on some delay or distortion that give his cello more of a distinct lead sound.
The combination of thoughtful lyrics and the full sound of the stand up bass and cello give the listeners a nice sense of a traditional folk music, but The Speedbumps have a much more groovin’ tempo. Throw in the electric rhythm guitar, the keys, and some effects on the cello and you have a sound that masterfully mixes folk, rock, and pop.
The band finishes their set and I’m left wishing it was about twice as long. I instantly imagine them playing the famous Ryman Auditorium, in a more one on one setting without the mix of other bands and genres. This was ‘New Faces Night’ at The Basement, but I have a feeling The Speedbumps will be showing up more and more at festivals and local shows around the country. They are hitting the northeast to for the rest of July and will hopefully have an autumn tour scheduled soon.
The Speedbumps Tour Dates:
July 22 | Cleveland, OH at Beachland Ballroom
July 26 | New York, NY at Rockwood Music Hall
July 28 | North Hero, VT at Savage Garden Farm
July 29 | Southbridge, MA at Starlite
August 01 | Thomas, WV at The Purple Fiddle
August 04 | Charlotte, NC at The Evening Muse