Keelfest II at Bowie’s in Nashville, TN

Rocknpod Expo closed Saturday’s events with Keelfest II, featuring Crashing Wayward, The Fifth, Ron Keel Band, Keel, and Steeler at the famous Bowie’s in Nashville.

Keelfest II fans visiting downtown Nashville may or may not have been caught off-guard by the amount of foot traffic and cars in such a small space and the price of parking. The venue for the final installment of Keelfest II was the famous rock-n-roll bar, Bowie’s on 3rd Street. Inside the venue was not what many would expect to see—an elk head mount covered in bras. Either the bras are strategically placed, or women have been honing on their sling slot aim. You may find a pick or two for your collection on the floor in front of the stage. But not so fast. Those picks are sealed into the floor. But seeing how many people tried to pick them up was still funny. Touché to the designer.

Las Vegas-based Crashing Wayward was the first to take the stage at Keelfest II. They are a modern alternative rock band. Listeners can hear a Stone Temple Pilots influence and maybe a hint of The Cure. The band was signed by RFK Media label in 2022 and expects to drop their new album Listen in June this year. Those in attendance at Keelfest II enjoyed hearing all of the songs on the Listen album.

The tall, sharply dressed frontman Peter Summit was eager to work the crowd, so don’t let that suit fool you. Peter even hopped off the stage and joined concertgoers in front of the house. Their stage presence was just as energetic as their lyrics. Catchy guitar riffs were compliments of Stacey David Blades and David Harris. Carl Raether was on bass and Shon McKee was the king of the drum throne.

Crashing Wayward is a band to keep on your radar and go see live. They will not disappoint with their sound or stage presence.

The first band ever to be signed with RFK Media, The Fifth from Fayetteville, NC, took the stage next. Frontman Roy Cathey lent his massive pipes to deliver a raw, dirty, in-your-face sound. The Fifth even shared their rendition of Guns N Rose’s “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Marc Ferrari made a guest appearance at the end of the set to play “Cryin’ Shame,” an original from his Cold Sweat days with Roy.

The Fifth’s self-titled album has a melodic sound that will blow you away with its musicianship—from the whaling pipes of Roy, paired beautifully with Justin Womble’s fretwork on his hot pink JEM Jr, to the rhythm section of Gary “Zeus” Smith on drums, and Jake Tripp on bass. Definitely check them out if they come to your city.

The night’s headliners were Ron Keel Band (RKB), Keel, and Steeler. According to Ron, this was the first time Crashing Wayward, The Fifth, and the Ron Keel Band have ever played in Nashville. This was Keel’s first show in Nashville since 1985 and Steeler’s first show in 42 years.

Ron Keel opened the RKB set with “Dreams Are Not Enough” from Keel’s Larger Than Live album, released in 1989. The set included songs such as “Long Way Down,” in which Steve “Doc” Percell joined in playing guitar. Before RKB played “Wild Forever,” Ron invited two members of  the Keelaholics Facebook group and Ron Keel’s Patreon page up on stage. Robert Lawless joined to play acoustic guitar, and AJ Dougherty hyped up the crowd, sporting his “Wild Forever” tattoo.

For the Keel lineup, some of the musicians changed. Joining Ron were guitarists Bryan Jay and Marc Ferrari, bassist Geno Arce, and Dwain Miller on drums. The lineup performed some of Keel’s top-performing songs from 1984s Lay Down the Law through 1989’s Larger Than Live albums. Keel also included material from their 2010 reunion album Streets of Rock N Roll, and the world premiere of a brand new song, “Moving Target.”

New guitarist Diego Vargas performed a solo to open the Steeler set. Joining Steeler were Mitch Perry on guitar, Rik Fox on bass, and Dwain Miller on drums.

For a rare photo opportunity, Ron Keel brought up Steeler founding members Michael Dunigan (guitar) and Robert Eva (drums), along with Mark Edwards (drums-album lineup) with Diego, Rik, Mitch, and Dwain.

The set and night ended with “Serenade” from Steeler’s self-titled 1983 album.

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About Mary Devosha 6 Articles
Mary is a concert photographer who also enjoys many styles of photography. She enjoys creating a timelapse of the night sky and star trail photography. She also likes taking a day hike shooting waterfalls and wildlife. Her other passion besides photography and music is riding her motorcycle to get some wind therapy.