On Sunday, July 30th, at 8 pm, Eli Smart took the stage at the stunning Brooklyn Bowl in the heart of downtown Nashville. The venue was absolutely stunning with its bowling alley off to the left, just before getting to the concert area. The lighting was so fun with disco balls and lights on the ceiling that gave off a fun, vintage vibe that fit perfectly with the show.
A native Hawaiian, Eli brings an island sound to his alt/indie sound that gives his songs a unique island sound. It was to close your eyes and feel like you were on a beautiful island instead of in the center of Tennessee. Eli played a variety of songs ranging from “Come on, Come on, Come on” from 2019, to “AM to PM” from his 2022 Aloha Soul 1 album. Keeping it all the family, Eli was joined on stage by his grandmother, who plays bass. Along with Eli and his grandmother, he was joined on stage by Jordan, the backup singer, and Hamster, who played drums.
As the crowd waited for Declan McKenna to take the stage, music from artists like Madonna and Abba kept the crowd energized during the changeover. Patrons were singing and dancing around having a blast. As the lights dimmed and Declan took the stage, the crowd went wild, screaming and clapping loudly.
Throughout the show, Declan went back and forth playing guitar and piano that highlighted how musically talented he is. As the performance went on, the pre-set playlist set the mood for the show as Declan leans towards a vintage, 60’s/70’s vibe. There were a few songs that featured a tambourine and a flute! Throughout the entire show, Declan and his band were smiling, laughing, and joking with each other. The band dynamic was energetic and effervescent that the crowd thrived on. Towards the end of the show, Eli joined the band on stage to sing together.
Never one to disappoint, Declan came back on the stage for two encore songs. The crowd’s energy during these last songs was impressive and brought even more energy than before. Everywhere you looked, fans where dancing, jumping, and singing the entire time. Declan came down to the barricade area to play and then, decided that wasn’t close enough, he ran the perimeter of the crowd not once, but twice, giving patrons high fives as he ran by.
At around 11:30, the lights came on, and the crowd slowly dispersed. On the way out, I had a chance to chat with Eli and Jordan right outside the bowling alley portion of the venue. As expected, excited fans were lined up waiting to get the perfect selfie with them. After offering take a picture of one fan, I ended up being the unofficial photographer for about 10 minutes.
All Eli Smart and Declan McKenna photos are by Jennifer Mullins