Reviews & suggestions for punk rock fans.

Night at Drkmttr Collective in Nashville, TN – Music Venue

The Local Scene of Nashville, TN Can Be Found at Drkmttr Collective

When talking about the venues in Nashville, TN, one often hears about the Grand Ole Opry with its history and tourists. The Ryman Auditorium is a must-see, which will have its share of tourists, too, but still has the best acoustics of any venue I have ever heard. The honky tonks are a drunk fest I used to enjoy before packed crowds (also mainly tourists) make it so you can barely breathe. The majority of the other venues run by companies like Live Nation, booking bands playing on the radio. If you are looking for a community, the local scene, ONE of the venues I would check out is Drkmttr Collective

First thing you see when driving past or looking directly at Drkmttr Collective is a massive sign above its door (see photo above). On top of the sign is the question: “Which is more harmful?” Below the question, a selection that includes: “racism, homophobia, anti-abortion laws, the GOP, AR-15.” Talk about a welcome mat and a clear stance on their political views. 

Attached to a strip mall, Drkmttr Collective is located along a road you never ventured down twenty years prior called Dickerson Pike. A strip mall that does not have many occupants, if any, besides the venue. You enter the building, taken back by its small size. Stage to the right, not a foot off the ground. Bar straight ahead with a selection of various beverages or snacks. Curtains line the walls, I assume to help with sound. Chairs along the back wall to the left, a few tables here or there, and a small section for merch in the corner. The necessities for a venue that promises to host a rotating slew of upcoming and local artists, along with music gormandizers looking for a night out. 

The night I went, there could not have be more than 25 of us. I arrived as the local band, Budge, was playing. Four-piece group with an indie sound. The venue was small enough that as the dancing incited (sometimes soft mosh), the lead vocalist came down to dance with the crowd. They cracked jokes with the crowd in between the songs. Everyone is at eye level, everyone enjoying themselves. An atmosphere of non-pretentious rockers with a crowd eager to grub down what they had to offer.

Rock band Alicja-Pop, from Memphis, TN, was up next. And, mind you, the turnover didn’t take long. Maybe 10-15 minutes. Long enough for me to grab another beer and take one sip before another band kicked up again. Alicja-Pop had talent. The drums were on point. Same with the vocal harmony between the drummer and lead vocalists. The lead singer’s raw, screeching guitar work paired perfectly with the rhythm of bass and beats, a sort of see-saw of low and high pitches intertwined for your ears to grasp. 

Stef & the Sleeveens, whose lead singer was from Ireland, was the closer. They hit. Their speed was incredible at times. Moments when you would turn to their guitarist and see a blur above the strings as his hands moved at hummingbird speed. They played a few of their songs, along with a mix of other tunes including an Irish punk song and their closing song “People Who Died” by The Jim Carroll Band. During “People Who Died,” the lead singer broke his guitar strings due to the heavy strumming and overall force. After they were through, I walked out the door and could not help but think, “man, that was f**king punk.”

And that was my night at Drkmttr Collective, a Nashville venue. A collective mix of bands that hit harder and harder as the night went on. It was clear – Drkmttr Collective is a venue where the bands are in the crowd, hanging out before they perform. It is a community where music lives and breaths. As we all know, a scene never resides on the stages of places like Bridgestone Arena (another Nashville venue), but in the blood, sweat, & heart of those playing venues like Drkmttr Collective

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