Aly & AJ: Nashville, TN 2018

Rainsford with Aly & AJ @ Mercy Lounge in Nashville, TN

Review & Photography by: Laurel Williams

Turns out that spending a Monday night at Nashville’s Mercy Lounge is a perfect way to kick off the week.  On this particular summer evening, the room was packed with enthusiastic fans that were amped up and ready for Aly & Aj’s sold out show. Rainsford opened the night with vocalist Rainey Qualley accompanied only by her guitarist/keyboardist Justin and some backing tracks. Rainey demonstrated amazing range, with her vocals smoothly transitioning between resonant lows and effortless highs. The crowd sang along loudly to her stripped down version of the Ben E King classic Stand by Me. She closed the set with her song Too Close – the emotional back and forth of deciding whether or not to break up before everyone gets hurt. After her set everyone danced to the house music, keeping the mood elevated right to the start of the headlining set.

The house lights were cut, and an instrumental track played while the crowd’s anticipation grew. Aly & Aj took the stage, walking to their places and beginning to play without much ado. With Aly on keys and Aj on guitar, the pair moved through their set of smooth feel-good jams, taking time to step out from behind their instruments every couple of songs. A few songs into the set, they began to play some of their older mid-2000s hits. When they played Chemicals React, the room’s energy spiked and the crowd jumped up and down like they were at a punk show. They played more new tunes, more oldies, and an unexpected but gorgeous cover of The Cure’s Lovesong. The night definitely held some sentimentality for fans from their Disney days, but this was so much more than a nostalgia tour. Their music felt well rounded and whole- reflective of their full lives now in their late twenties. It was the perfect carefree summer girls night at the bar. There are only a handful of shows left on their summer Promises tour, so catch them if you can!

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