Sometimes you have to keep it simple: I had an amazing time watching MisterWives rock out at Nashville’s Brooklyn Bowl. After the recent release of their latest album Nosebleeds, and in particular, its anthemic titular single, catching the band in concert has been on my radar. Anyone who has followed MisterWives for their almost decade long career is already aware that Nosebleeds has taken the group in a heavier direction. However, even being familiar with the band’s updated sound, I still wasn’t prepared for the pure energy they were going to pump into every song.
As a starting point for the night, it’s important to know that Nashville’s Brooklyn Bowl arguably has the best sound system you’ll find in a club venue. It’s so clean it’s like being in a recording studio. The state-of-the-art venue also supports light and stage production other local spots cannot. MisterWives took full advantage of both of these features. The music was loud enough to punch you in the chest, yet crisp enough to enjoy each note. Lead singer Mandy Lee hit every note you’d want to hear after listening to the band’s recordings, but also managed to add an emotive yearn that made each song connect to the listener even better. And the lights/stage set-up itself…one might think the band was prepared for a music festival instead of a 1,200 ticket capacity concert.
Under this landscape, the band highlighted several tracks from the aforementioned, Nosebleeds, but didn’t forget to mix rocked-up versions of more their older works into a powerful 19-song setlist. The band set the tone early, kicking the night off with Nosebleed’s pulse-raising opening track, “Out of Your Mind.” Two songs later the band gave us our first taste of an older track, “rock bottom,” off of their 2020 album, SUPERBLOOM. Where the original recorded track falls squarely, in the pop-rock genre, the live performance at Brooklyn Bowl found those adjectives flipped, as it was rock first, with an underlying hint of buoyant pop. The audience appreciated the nuances, hands raised in the air, moving to the infectious beat. Later in the set, we also got the band’s arguably biggest hit, “SUPERBLOOM” performed with a renewed energy. While all of the band’s older works were easily recognizable and true to their original beauty, there was a distinct edge in these live performances that just made them feel bigger.
At the end of the night, the band eschewed the traditional cliché of a forced encore—a decision that worked well for this show. There was so much energy in the room, a break in the action could only have killed the vibe. Also breaking from tradition, the band closed with the more recent single, “Nosebleeds” instead of that more established Spotify or YouTube hit. At first it seemed odd not to close with a “that song” type of hit like most other shows. However, with Nosebleeds, they might have in fact still done that. If you haven’t listened to it yet, “Nosebleeds” could be the song that has that connecting power to propel this band in front of even larger listening audiences, and into those types of festival spots currently filled with bands like Chvrches and Paramore—bands who share a powerful rock-pop edge. In fact, this show already has me penning MisterWives into 2024 mock music festival lineups hoping to experience it all again. After all, whether you were one of the super fans who lined up hours in advance to be stage-front, the guy standing arms-crossed in the back row forcing yourself to be stoic, or the throng filling the balcony to fight for the best views, it was a show to be remembered and certainly one that left you wanting more.