The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

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.

IN PHOTOS: Soft-launch summer nights with The Pitchpockets’ electrifying frisson

The PitchPockets went beyond Belmont to make a splash in Music City’s bar scene
Eigen Escario
The PitchPockets performing to a packed crowd at 3rd and Lindsley, as photographed on April 19, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Eigen Escario)

A crew of college-aged concertgoers poured into 3rd and Lindsley on a warm afternoon on April 19 — a welcoming preview of carefree summer nights to come after a chilly spring in Nashville. Also filing into the venue were band members of The PitchPockets, decked out in baggy Hawaiian shirts and carrying their saxophones and guitars.

The group has been performing in Nashville since 2021 — most notably, they were chosen to participate in Belmont’s Battle of the Bands showcase in the fall of 2022, and they ultimately won the competition. The band also performed at Belmont’s Best of the Best showcase on April 15, where the winners of the university’s various showcases throughout the year converge for a night of performances.

In an interview with The Hustler after the show, PitchPockets’ saxophone player AJ Huang talked about the supportive community that their small band has found in Nashville.

“Pretty much the entire pit was Belmont people with some Vandy people and acquaintances,” Huang said. “The adults in the back of the room were some of our teachers, parents and regulars at 3rd and Lindsley — it was cool to see them stay for us.”

The show’s first openers were pianist Harrison Finks and vocalist/pianist Alex J. Price, accompanied by six other band members who played each instrument harmoniously. The lively music hyped up the crowd as their bodies moved to the jazzy tunes on the dance floor. Several individuals playing instruments during the opener were also members of the PitchPockets, including Huang and lead guitarist Connor Fiehler, teasing what would come later in the night.

The first song Finks and Price played, “Bounce,” is a dynamic composition written by Finks himself that seamlessly unified classical instrumentation with groovy funk. Later in the set, they played “Sport,” a song with similar energy also written by Finks and with Huang.

After the first opener stepped off-stage for a brief intermission, Claire Ernst took the stage in a black dress with five other band members, including a reprise from Finks and Price. The pop singer/songwriter entertained with her most popular hits like “Do What¿” and “How’s It Feel,” along with an acoustic rendition of an unreleased song on the piano.

“This one is for the girls who get sad — it’s called ‘Girl In The Bathroom,’” Ernst said. “It’s fresh…I wrote it two weeks ago.”

After another intermission, the chattering in the crowd grew in anticipation for The PitchPockets, the tight-knit group of vocalists and musicians from Belmont University. ADD MORE HERE

One of the band’s lead vocalists, Elise Petersen, introduced an upcoming release featuring more doo-wop, beachy vibes to match their Hawaiian shirts. The EP titled “Pool Party” will be a three-track project exploring new sounds for the group.

“The whole vibe is not really under the umbrella of one genre, like all of us have been influenced by different styles of soul, pop, funk, and occasionally rock elements — an eclectic mix of everything,” Huang said. 

Huang said the whole group felt stressed to do a larger-scale performance at 3rd and Lindsley, referencing some struggle with impostor syndrome. However, he shared that the culmination of their work is ultimately something to be proud of, a cherry on top of the journey they’ve embarked on together as a band.

The band members ended the night by embracing each other and their loved ones in the audience. It was a heartwarming and inspiring sight to see creatives pursuing their dreams and being supported by their community in Music City.

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About the Contributor
Eigen Escario, Former Staff Photographer
Eigen Escario ('26) is from Birmingham, Alabama. He is majoring in human and organizational development with a double major in computer science and minoring in business in Peabody College. In his spare time, Eigen enjoys taking ballroom lessons with his friends and handling the livestream for Vandy Ice Hockey.

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