Happenings /// Margaret Glaspy Makes ‘Em Scream

Victory lap tours are peculiar entities within the world of music. They’re not purposefully
planned with the intention of basking in the admiring afterglow of a meteoric rise. Actually, for some, that may be the case. But for the most part, its simply the final leg of long promotional cycles that have in fact paid off in the end. They’re serendipitous; when someone’s tireless work on a record manages to strike a chord (and then some), much like Margaret Glaspy’s past year with regard to her debut LP, Emotions and Math.

Having already toured extensively in support of Emotion and Math throughout much of 2016 (with plenty of fanfare) – including a stop on The Farm – Glaspy’s Winter 2017 tour run would qualify as the aforementioned “victory lap.” That being said, this was not an extended ego-trip for Glaspy, whose live set had become even further refined alongside her superb fronting abilities.

There are plenty of uniquities to Glaspy’s music – the most immediate being her exceptional songwriting ability – but with regard to her live sets, there are two things that reel you in and keep you enthralled throughout the set. The first enrapturing factor is Glaspy’s presence on stage.

She is a truly masterful guitarist – in fact, she would almost certainly be considered “underrated” if such ascriptions were needed – and her movements while performing certain licks and runs can be absolutely beguiling. If one were to describe the movements themselves, it would likely be along the lines of a spirited cavorting, as if the music emanates directly from Glaspy’s being into and out of the guitar. Its an equally entertaining and moving sight to see.

Second – and arguably the aspect most likely to become a staple of many a Glaspy show in the future – is Glaspy’s guttural inflections on her lyrics. Its an added barb to the already pointed words written. All in all, its the ultimate in emotional emphasis as Glaspy imbues her most intimate of feelings.

So all that to be said, Glaspy’s sold out Nashville show was one of excellence and utter astonishment. If there were a power ranking (sport reference, sorry) of the best shows in Nashville during 2017, Glaspy’s would undoubtedly be near the top. She played in front of and adoring (and sold out) High Watt crowd, where nearly every song was met with an ovation.

dsc04299Rather than play into the pluralist ego of her Nashville crowd, Glaspy spent most of the show running through songs off Emotions and Math, with an early standout being “Situation,” the first of many songs that highlighted Glaspy’s guitar chops. While Glaspy opted to forgo extensive stage-to-crowd banter, there was a brief moment of levity in which Glaspy announced they were going to play a yet untitled new song. Almost instantly, someone yelled out “Cheryl!” Taken aback, Glaspy inquired what Cheryl would possibly be referencing, and in turn decided to call the song “Cheryl” for at least the night, adding “I guess this song goes out to Cheryl too, if she’s here.”
There were plenty of standout moments within the set – new songs, “Cheryl,” etc. – but one moment that drove the High Watt crowd to near admiring silence was during Glaspy’s cover of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor,” a song her sister had on constant rotation when they were growing up. The cover was phenomenal, so much in fact that even the High Watt’s bartenders stopped taking orders to take video.

In the end, Glaspy’s Nashville stop was most certainly one of the better shows to roll through town in the first quarter of the year. From the demands of calling a new song Cheryl to someone making reference to puffins eating in Iceland, Glaspy was “having a moment,” as she put it. There’s no doubt that the next time Glaspy comes through Nashville, she’ll have no trouble surpassing the already impressive level she reached at The High Watt.

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