IF YOU GO
What: Nightfall Concert Series featuring Road to Nightfall winner Strung Like a Horse.
When: 8 p.m. today; Jordan Hallquist & The Outfit opens at 7.
Where: Miller Plaza, corner of M.L. King Boulevard, Cherry and Market streets.
Jordan Hallquist is a local roots-rock singer/songwriter who fronts the backing band The Outfit, consisting of Jeremy Muse and Robert Williams. For more information, visit www.reverbnation.com/jordanhallquist.
From throwing drums into a traditional bluegrass lineup to playing so fast and loud they scare off the critics, Strung Like a Horse has a hard time doing things the usual way.
The band won the right to headline this week's Nightfall concert by triumphing during a battle of the bands earlier this year, but when tonight's set is over, things will just be getting started.
Lead singer Clay Maselle said the plan is to march offstage and proceed seven blocks up Market Street to another show at Rhythm & Brews, where the musicians will celebrate the release of a new EP and video. Along the way, they'll be accompanied by a menagerie of performers, from bellydancers to unicyclists.
After winning Road to Nightfall, why not take full advantage of the opportunity to expand their fan base, Maselle asked.
"We have all these people involved in this," he said. "We wouldn't be able to do that without the headlining slot at Nightfall as a platform. It's gotten us enough attention to where we're able to involve more people and make things larger and more dramatic."
Maselle founded Strung Like a Horse about two and a half years ago. It grew out of a Tuesday night jam session he was involved in with banjo player Ben Crawford, but the lineup has only been solid since drummer Sloth joined about a year ago.
Strung Like a Horse participated in the first Road to Nightfall competition last year but lost out to the WTM Blues Band. This year, Maselle said, they threw themselves into the competition, even going so far as canceling a lucrative gig in Asheville, N.C., to compete.
They took the stage as the opening performer on the first of four nights to determine the semifinalists. Maselle said the pressure was high, but when he looked out and saw a sea of Strung Like a Horse T-shirts, confidence started to replace nerves.
"We put together the best songs we could and gave it all we could. It worked out," he said. "We had a really enthusiastic crowd that surprised the hell out of us."
Having done so well during the initial round, Maselle said, the band capitalized on that momentum and an even bigger showing from fans at the final round to sweep the competition.
Getting to play to a few thousand people is a rare opportunity, and Maselle said it would be stupid not to take advantage of it by putting on a show with as much pomp and grandeur as he can muster.
"We have such enthusiastic fans, and it's so easy to get them involved that it's basically going to become a circus," he said. "I think it's going to be a good turnout."
THE PARADE / AFTER-PARTY
After tonight's headlining performance at Nightfall, Strung Like a Horse will lead a parade down Market Street to a release party for the band's new EP, "Glad," and a music video for the song "Gypsy Jane" at Rhythm & Brews, 221 Market St. Along the way, the musicians will be accompanied by bellydancers, unicyclists, fire eaters, stilt walkers, a marching band and other entertainers. The Rhythm & Brews show will start at 10 p.m. with opener Another Roadside Attraction, an eclectic ensemble from Roanoke, Va. The $10 cover includes a copy of the EP.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...