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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

A thrilling Tuesday with Tai Verdes

Tai Verdes descended on Nashville for the “HDTV” Tour, electrifying Brooklyn Bowl.
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Miguel Beristain
Tai Verdes performs at Brooklyn Bowl, as photographed on Sept. 27, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Miguel Beristain)

When I first heard that artist Tai Verdes would be returning to Nashville in late September, I fired up my computer, turned on “A-O-K,” and grabbed some tickets for what would certainly be an electrifying night. 

Tai Verdes is known most for his hits “Stuck In The Middle” and “A-O-K.” The 6’7” former college basketball player grew in popularity after his songs were featured in viral TikToks during the COVID-19 pandemic and has consistently grown in popularity ever since. Two albums, a Recording Industry Association of America Platinum Certification and two international tours later, it is clear that Tai Verdes is here to stay. 

Before his music career, Verdes auditioned for shows such as “The Voice” and “American Idol,” before being featured on season six of the reality dating show, “Are You the One?” He finally made it big with his hit breakout “Stuck In The Middle,” which has garnered over 114 million Spotify streams at the time of publication. The 26-year-old has embarked on an international tour, with one of his most recent appearances being in our very own Nashville, Tennessee. 

The Sept. 27 concert began with a private performance for 20 eager fans and a meet and greet with Verdes himself. Despite having a larger-than-life persona, Verdes was approachable, and he showed immense gratitude to some of his most dedicated fans. 

The author pictured with Tai Verdes, as photographed on Sept. 27, 2022. (Hustler Staff/Max Perry)
The author pictured with Tai Verdes, as photographed on Sept. 27, 2022. (Hustler Staff/Max Perry) (Max Perry)

The opener, folk-pop artist Gatlin, gave an electrifying performance that included songs such as “2000 Miles” and “Talking to Myself.” What I enjoyed most was Gatlin’s determination to be unapologetically herself. At one point in the performance, she elected to sing completely alone on stage about the difficulties of becoming older and how terrifying it can be to grow up. 

Gatlin performs at Brooklyn Bowl, as photographed on Sept. 27, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Miguel Beristain)
Gatlin performs at Brooklyn Bowl, as photographed on Sept. 27, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Miguel Beristain) (Miguel Beristain)

However, as the lights dimmed and the fog machines began rumbling, it became clear that the main show was about to begin. The ensuing performance was everything that a Tai Verdes fan could have dreamed of. His first song “Trix in the Bag,” a catchy and contemporary rap song, left fans head banging and singing along. With the recent release of “HDTV,” Verdes’ second album, Verdes has shown his determination to adapt as time goes on. He has opted to leave the confines of the upbeat pop and hip-hop sets of his first album “TV,” for a more risky and mature R&B, indie and rap mix in “HDTV.” 

With songs such as “Kingdom Come,” “Let’s Go to Hell” and “Shut Up,” Verdes owned the Brooklyn Bowl as he continued with his most recent album. “Let’s Go to Hell,” one of his more popular songs, tells the story of going outside of one’s comfort zone and being rebellious in search of having fun and being oneself. Verdes’ energy was unparalleled and showed the honest fun that the artist was having during the performance. On two separate occasions, Verdes entered the audience directly and interacted with fans, making sure to include all parts of the audience. 

As the night went on, old favorites emerged, such as “FEELING THIS BAD NEVER FELT SO GREAT,” “Happy til it hurts” and “Stuck In The Middle.” These songs reflect an easy-going Verdes telling audiences to take life’s challenges in stride and to put things in perspective. “Stuck In The Middle,” a clear audience favorite, shares the difficulties of navigating the medium between friends and more than friends with lyrics like “Love turns into forever and that scares both of us.” The catchy melodies hit on a deeper level, relieving the difficulties surrounding being in love with someone you care deeply about. 

After performing, “A-O-K,” the artist briefly left the stage before performing the encore “I deserve 2 b alone” and “LAst dAy oN EaRTh.” These two songs delivered an incredible energy to the already amazing evening and reflected multiple eras in Verdes’ music, with a uniform message of taking ownership of one’s mistakes and making the most of every moment. 

This was one of the best concerts that I have ever been to. Verdes’ energy alone was mesmerizing enough; however, his constant crowd interactions created an atmosphere that left concertgoers feeling like they had a private concert in Brooklyn Bowl all to themselves.

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About the Contributor
Miguel Beristain
Miguel Beristain, Senior Staff Photographer
Miguel Beristain (’24) is a philosophy and cellular and molecular biology double major in the College of Arts and Science from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. When not shooting for The Hustler, he can usually be found playing Magic the Gathering, exploring new restaurants or practicing guitar. He can be reached at .
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