published Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Spirit of Chattanooga's Nightfall returns

Michael Davis dances to music by opening band Ashley & The X's on opening night of the 24th annual Nightfall concert series in Miller Plaza on Friday.  Ashley & The X's opened the free concert series, which will run every Friday night until early September, and soul and blues group the Alexis P. Suter Band headlined the evening's show.
Michael Davis dances to music by opening band Ashley & The X's on opening night of the 24th annual Nightfall concert series in Miller Plaza on Friday. Ashley & The X's opened the free concert series, which will run every Friday night until early September, and soul and blues group the Alexis P. Suter Band headlined the evening's show.
Photo by Doug Strickland.

THE SCHEDULE

Note: Opening acts are listed in parentheses.

• May 18: Seven Handle Circus (The Dismembered Tennesseans)

• May 25: Elliott Brood (Land Camera)

• June 1: Honey Island Swamp Band (Rick Bowers & The Saints of Main Street)

• June 8/15: Off for Riverbend

• June 22: Shannon McNally (Ryan Oyer Band)

• June 29: Young Dubliners (More Like Me)

• July 6: Dirty Bourbon River Show (The Snake Doctors)

• July 13: Deer Tick (Behold the Brave)

• July 20: Chuck Prophet (Endelouz)

• July 27: Van Hunt (Rick Rushing & The Blues Strangers)

• Aug. 3: McKay's Road to Nightfall winners Strung Like Horse (Jordan Hallquist)

• Aug. 10: Hayes Carll (Amber Fults & The Ambivalent Lovers)

• Aug. 17: Eilen Jewell (Long Gone Darlings)

• Aug. 24: The Apache Relay (Glowing Bordis)

• Aug. 31: Tizer (Milele Roots)

• Sept. 7: Quiet Monster (Telemonster)

It's called Nightfall, but Chattanoogans were already filling up Miller Plaza with the late-evening sun still beaming down on them.

Many were eager to be in good company and enjoy the sound of sultry blues as cool as the beer that many adult attendees sipped on.

Friday night kicked off Nightfall's 24th year Friday night with a crowd that packed out a blocked M.L. King Boulevard. Every Friday through Sept. 7, a concert featuring different musicians each night will perform, said Carla Pritchard, president of the event's creator Chattanooga Presents.

"We look for quality and the best in the genre," she said. "With Nightfall, we've always been sensitive to the scale of the area."

More food vendors have been added to this year's Nightfall, Pritchard said.

Although beer and spirits tickets were available for $5, the event is family-friendly, which allowed for the family dog and young children -- in some instances, both were harnessed by leashes -- to partake in the free-spirited atmosphere.

Blue chairs were placed in front of the stage, but filled up fast. Most of the audience was scattered through the small plaza, posted up on lawn chairs, blankets, or the sides of the area's concrete walls.

Alexis P. Suter Band headlined this season's concert series. Suter has impressed the likes of famous musician B.B. King with her musical talent.

Keeping with the tradition of having local bands as opening acts, Chattanooga natives Ashley and the X's warmed up the crowd with their jazzy tunes. While they performed, attendees of all ages swayed, boogied, or just moved to the music with little regard to the beat.

"This is a wonderful thing," Ashley Hicks said before her band performed. "There are so many different people here. Music does bring people together."

One such concertgoer getting into the groove was Jade Joubert, who said she has made it a point to try to not miss a Nightfall for about seven years.

"I love the music, I love the musicians, and I love to dance," Joubert said.

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