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Review: Paramore’s ‘Art + Friends’ showcases Nashville creatives

The theme of Paramore’s Art + Friends event Friday was best summed up by Alicia Bognanno of Bully.

“We’re Bully. We’re from here. So is everyone.”

Art + Friends was a one-day music and art festival meant to showcase Nashville’s weirder side. Hosted by Paramore, the event included performances from indie-rock musicians and visual art installments by artists who call Nashville home.

The event kicked off with a soulful performance by Nightingale. The Americana-esque ensemble set the bar high for the rest of the evening’s performers with a folksy set showcasing singer Alicia Gale’s striking voice.

Next up was former Belmont student, Liza Anne. Along with her coordinating jumpsuit-clad band, she gave off an electric energy and stage presence that dared the audience to look away. She ended her powerful set with a curtsy before she left the stage.

After Liza Anne came Canon Blue, whose members brought great energy to the crowd through their use of violin and electronic influences. They helped to transition the night to heavier territory and get the crowd excited.

The rock darlings of Bully came on stage next — and didn’t leave a soul unaware of it. Bognanno’s signature bleached hair and loud howl represented a refined version of Nashville’s DIY scene.

Belmont alumni band COIN took the stage next and got the entire crowd jumping. The band’s indie-pop hits and high-energy performance was a standout of the night as the crowd danced and sang along.

COIN at Art + Friends

Finally, the hosts of the evening came out for their highly-anticipated two hour set. Along with its long list of hits, Paramore performed songs never heard before on stage. The event was essentially a retirement party for the band’s latest album, “After Laughter.” There was also a send-off for the crowd-favorite song “Misery Business,” which the band said they won’t play again for a very long time.

Along with music, the event showcased local artists and businesses — from sculptor Brett Douglas Hunter’s colorful “aminals” to selections from Grimey’s record collection. And as any local would know, no Nashville event is complete without a Daddy’s Dogs tent.

As Nashville continues to grow and change, this event proved there will always be a place here for those who might not fit in elsewhere.

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