St. Paul & The Broken Bones and Fitz And The Tantrums at Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville, TN

St. Paul & The Broken Bones @ Ascend Amphitheater, Nashville | Photo by Zach Birdsong

Nashville fans should have brought their dancing shoes when Fitz And The Tantrums and St. Paul & The Broken Bones co-headlined Ascend Amphitheater. 

As the early fans filed into the venue, Seratones started the evening with a fun but short 30-minute performance. While her backing band was solid, lead singer AJ Haynes grabbed the attention with her bubbly personality and infectious smile. 

It was clear that the group was there to celebrate and get the crowd into a good mood, which they did by creating a fun and welcoming environment. With June being Pride Month, Haynes waved her hand-held fan that read “Queer” multiple times throughout the set as she made sure to welcome her “gaybies” into Friday night’s show. Though it was something as little as a mention, it really helped create an all-inclusive atmosphere and got the night started in a fun fashion. 

As some of the audience walked into the amphitheater, they asked security who the headliner was on Friday night. Those asking were optimistic that Fitz And The Tantrums would be the closer as their set felt like a homecoming showcase. While the band is from Los Angeles, co-vocalist Noelle Scaggs has made Nashville her home, and from her many smiles, it was evident that she was ecstatic to be on stage again in Music City. “I moved here seven years ago, and I have so many amazing friends here tonight,” Scaggs said. “This city and the people have been welcoming of me. We are so blessed to be here in this space, and thank you again for coming out to the show tonight.”

During their nearly 75-minute performance, the group dived into their earlier hits and included some newer songs. Included in that setlist was the live debut of a new track, “Sway,” which will be available for streaming on June 10. As Scaggs described, she and the other members couldn’t think of a better place to perform the tune for the first time than Music City. 

Following the debut of the new single, the remainder of Fitz And The Tantrums set consisted of a mixed bag, reaching from all parts of their discography. The group did a solid job of performing songs from their four-record catalog throughout their performance. Before closing out their set, Fitz And The Tantrums included some longtime fan favorites, including their debut single, “Moneygrabber,” before concluding their evening with “Handclap,” which received immediate success after its debut. 

“I’m sure, like a lot of people during that stupid thing called a pandemic, I’m sure they had a lot of free time on their hands,” said lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick. “I had the thought one day that the six of us in Fitz And The Tantrums have been touring the United States from left to right, top to bottom, for almost 13 years and counting. This one is for those who have been with us since the beginning.”

There was no flashy start for St. Paul & The Broken Bones, but the band opened their 90-minute performance with an instrumental jam session before their lead singer, Paul Janeway, graced the stage. As the band came to rise, the group was known for wearing their Sunday best, donning suits for the entirety of their set. Following the release of their second album, Sea of Noise, Janeway would enter the stage with a cape before shedding that later in the performance. Friday night, though, the entrance was a little more subdued as Janeway wore a tracksuit, which undoubtedly had to be more comfortable than the suits. Even still, the Nashville audience roared as Janeway was introduced to the crowd.

While the prior two acts had the fans on their feet dancing, Janeway took an extra step and ventured out into the crowd early into St. Paul & The Broken Bone’s set. As the band performed the opening notes of “Sanctify,” Janeway made his way to the lawn portion of Ascend Amphitheater, high-fiving fans along the way as many reached for their phones to record the moment. Janeway then directed his way to the soundboard, where he attempted to get to a vantage point where he could see the entire crowd. Though he tried, Janeway made his way to the front row of the seated portion of the venue, standing on a chair and singing to the Nashville crowd. It made for a fun moment, one that the audience was talking about as they exited the amphitheater. 

That wouldn’t be the only time that Janeway would have crowd interaction. The St. Paul & The Bones’ singer has been famous for letting the music take over and dictate his moves. During the encore, the group performed “Grass is Greener,” and the final verse saw Janeway fall to his knees. He then reached out to grasp the hands of fans in the front row, making for a touching moment. Once Janeway reached his feet, he was met with an enormous ovation as he wiped away tears from his eyes. 

One of the special things about this performance is that every member of St. Paul & The Broken Bones was able to showcase their talents. While great, there were moments through the set when the crowd wanted to hear from the group’s lead singer. After all, Janeway possesses a unique voice that bassist Jesse Phillips has described as containing an “earth-shaking soulful” sound. So, while Janeway allowed the other group members to step into the spotlight, it was clear Nashville wanted more vocals.  

Thankfully for those fans, they got precisely that during the three-song encore that the band performed. The band concluded their stage time with fan-favorite, “Call Me,” which had Ascend Amphitheater dancing. As the final notes rang through, St. Paul & The Broken Bones waved goodbye and received quite the sendoff as many fans were on their feet, some hoping and shouting for one more tune. Unfortunately for those audience members, it didn’t happen as the house lights turned on, signaling the night’s end. 

ST PAUL & THE BROKEN BONES
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FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS
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SERATONES
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ASCEND AMPHITHEATER
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About Zach Birdsong 40 Articles
A current communications specialist with a background in journalism, where he served as a multiple award-winning newspaper editor, photographer and designer. In eight years, he received 18 awards from the Tennessee Press Association, the majority of which stems from his photography. He's also been fortunate enough to have had photos used by publications around the world including Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Today Show, Vanity Fair, Vogue Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and more.