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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.

Spencer Sutherland rocked the Basement East with his ‘In His Mania’ tour

Fans were treated to an igniting performance by Michael Minelli, JORDY and the standout act of the night — Spencer Sutherland — who set the stage ablaze with his soulful voice and dynamic stage presence.
Sara West
Spencer Sutherland looks down as he sings into the microphone, as photographed on April 20, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)

Unlike the vast, impersonal space of arenas and stadiums where I have previously attended concerts, the Basement East had a more intimate, almost electric atmosphere. I had a pile of projects and assignments waiting for me this week, but, nonetheless, decided to head to the concert featuring artists with whom I was not acquainted. As I stepped into the vibrant space where the audience and the instruments seemed to fuse into a singular, pulsating energy, all the doubt melted away. 

As the first opener, Michael Minelli, took the stage, the air was charged with anticipation, and the crowd erupted into a frenzy of cheers and applause. “Call Me,” the first song he sang, was an R&B and soul magnifying glass of lyrics conveying a sense of yearning and a desire for connection with a loved one. I thought this heartfelt song would be slow and subdued, but the entire Basement East vibrated with the raw power of the music.

“Nashville, y’all bringing some energy tonight, ‘tis crazy,” Minelli repeated as the crowd continued to feed off of his energy and enthusiasm.

Minelli alternated between soul, acoustics, a cappella and upbeat music. He continued his show with an a cappella ode to strong independent women and a lively interpretation of Bruno Mars’s “24K Magic,” while the audience kept their pinkies in the air the whole performance. He concluded with his song “Stay for the Weekend,” which focuses on the desire to prolong a weekend getaway between two lovers. 

The stage lights then dimmed and the audience grew quiet with anticipation as their attention focused on centerstage. JORDY’s act was no less phenomenal than his predecessor’s. He vibrantly kicked off with “IDK SH!T,” during which he relayed the struggles of navigating early adulthood. JORDY proudly announced that his sophomore project, “BOY,” would be released by the end of the concert. 

JORDY followed this performance with “Just Friends,” where he melodically cried about the complexities of a friends-with-benefits situation. He then introduced his next song, “Talk,” a vulnerable ballad about couples facing communication struggles. He performed with a melancholic and introspective mood that matched the lyrics of the song. The atmosphere then quickly became more joyous as he unveiled his latest rendition of “i get high” — fittingly on 4/20, which is widely known as a day to celebrate cannabis culture — featuring Nashville-based indie-pop singer Joy Oladokun. They sang with a breathy tone that conveyed both pain and hope. 

JORDY and Joy Oladokun performing together, as photographed on April 20, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sharmila Adapa)
JORDY and Joy Oladokun performing together, as photographed on April 20, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sharmila Adapa) (Sharmila Adapa)

The songs “Dry Spell,” a cover of Hilary Duff’s “Come Clean,” and “Good Not Great” were delivered to the audience with a subtle simplicity that allowed the lyrics to take center stage. Each song expressed a deeper message that the artist had come to understand and surrender to over the years. Through themes of struggle, perseverance and hope, JORDY conveyed a sense of resilience. 

JORDY came back out to play “Story of a Boy,” his remake of Nine Days’ 2000s hit “Absolutely (Story of a Girl).” The song has amassed around 850,000 streams on Spotify and has been used in many TikToks as a symbol of support for individuals who have undergone gender-affirming care. His performance ended with “Trevor” and “Till It Hurts,” which the crowd kept humming until the main act came under the lights. 

Sutherland made an unforgettable entrance that captured the audience’s attention and imagination. With the accompaniment of cinematic sounds, it felt as though the audience had become extras in a superhero or space movie. He commanded the attention of the audience and left no doubt that he was the star of the show. “Honey, what a shame,” were his words as he started singing “Everybody,” which succeeded “Jealousy” and “B!tch.” The latter ended with an improvisational ballad to his love for Music City, with him even mentioning that he is considering moving to Nashville. 

His vocals left the crowd impressed; he had no fear of journeying around multiple octaves and even encouraged the crowd to follow him in his vocal acrobatics. Afterward, he energetically performed “Cry” despite the song’s melancholic lyrics and “Strange Feeling,” which he bridged with a cover of Vanessa Carson’s “Thousand Miles.” But, that wasn’t enough. After telling the audience he was taking “a breath of fresh air” backstage, Sutherland appeared at the bar and sang among the crowd to everyone’s surprise. He then played “Flower,” a cover of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” and his new album single “Summer Camp.” His performance concluded with an unreleased song, “Chicken Little” and his 2019 single “Sweater.”

Sutherland’s performance was quite impressive, leaving the audience yearning for an encore. As the clamorous requests of the crowd persisted, he took the stage once more after having changed into a sleeveless red sweater reading “In His Mania.” 

Overall, the night was a testament to the power of live music and the incredible talent of the three featured artists. They ended up leaving the audience spellbound — myself included. The music was amazing, and the artists poured their hearts into their performances. Looking back, I definitely made the right decision to procrastinate on my finals to attend the concert. Sometimes, the best studying mechanism is to embrace risks and let oneself be introduced to new things — and, of course, explore Music City!

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About the Contributors
Anseley Philippe
Anseley Philippe, Staff Writer and Photographer
Anseley Philippe ('25) is a potential biomedical engineering and Spanish double-major who aspires to be an immunologist. Outside of The Hustler, he can be found queuing up at 2301, wandering around campus during his evening promenades or trying to keep up with his Spanish. He can be reached at [email protected].
Sara West
Sara West, Deputy Photography Editor
Sara West ('25) is majoring in psychology in the College of Arts and Science and human and organizational development in Peabody College. Sara loves going to concerts, thrifting and exploring new places. She was previously Deputy Photography Director and hopes to enter the music industry after graduating.  She can be reached at [email protected].
Sharmila Adapa
Sharmila Adapa, Staff Photographer
Sharmila Adapa (‘26) is from Fairfax, Va., and studies medicine, health and society and economics in the College of Arts and Science. When not taking pictures for The Hustler, you can find her hanging out with friends, listening to music or napping in MRB. You can reach her at [email protected].
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