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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.

IN PHOTOS: Jeff Rosenstock filled the Eastside Bowl with grunge and heavy metal

Eastside Bowl shook with angsty ecstasy as Jeff Rosenstock led a head-banging service along with Gladie and Sidney Gish.
Eigen Escario
Rosenstock smiles at DeDomenici during their performance at Eastside Bowl, as photographed on Sept. 16, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Eigen Escario)

On the heels of his new record “HELLMODE” released on Sept. 1, indie-rock artist Jeff Rosenstock’s North American tour is going strong and shook the ground at the Eastside Bowl on Sept. 16. The venue, tucked in the back of a retro bowling alley, channeled the energy of a hazy club with a bar and an upstairs lounge that overlooked the floor filled with tattooed rock lovers.

Indie rock band Gladie took the stage as the first opening act, enchanting the crowd with some of their hits like “Twenty Twenty” and “Hit The Ground Running.” Lead singer Augusta Koch’s raspy vocals and lead guitarist Matt Schimelfenig’s gnarly riffs hyped up the audience, especially with lines like, “I am angry, I am lonely, but I’m optimistic, too.”

The band closed their set by shouting out the upcoming artists. Later, Koch made her way to the merch table and interacted with fans in line as they bought shirts and vinyls. Her iconic pink hair blended in with the pink tees and album covers as she thanked people for coming out to the show.

As the lights dimmed once more in the venue, Sidney Gish casually made her way center-stage with nothing but her electric guitar and a loop pedal. The New Jersey native started off her set with airy and Clairo-esque renditions of “Starfucker” and “Where The Sidewalks End.”

It was impressive to watch her perform and control different layers of vibey melodies that all came together in the end. The crowd swayed to her mellow yet powerful deliveries. Finishing off her set with “Rat of the City,” which she wrote and produced all on her own, Gish said a sweet farewell as concertgoers went back to excitedly chattering about the main act of the night.

The anticipation in the crowd kept building for Jeff Rosenstock as smoke crept on the stage. He walked out with a birthday hat along with lead bassist John DeDomenici, guitarist Mike Huguenor, lead drummer Kevin Higuchi and keyboardist Dan Potthast. DeDomenici, who wore a Taylor Swift “Eras Tour” shirt, happily announced that it was his birthday. This was followed by a round of applause and well wishes from the crowd.

The band threw beach balls at the crowd and sang some of their hits like “DOUBT,” “I Did Something Weird Last Night” and “Nausea,” which was received with aggressive headbanging as “Josenstock” fans screamed his lyrics back at him. Before continuing with the rest of the show, Rosenstock asked the audience to look at the person beside them and make sure they were safe and sound before going further.

“Make sure that no one feels unsafe because we gotta look out for each other,” Rosenstock said. “I heard Nashville is a safe place to do weird things, and I love that.”

The band’s aggressive delivery and intense emotion from playing Rosenstock’s rock repertoire was filled with chilling guitar shreds and raspy, raw vocals. The peak of the night came as Rosenstock performed “FUTURE IS DUMB” from his most recent album, in which the crowd shook the room with their jumping and screaming.

The crowd at the front of the venue went feral with one audience member even crowd- surfing as Rosenstock and the band channeled the spirit of rock and roll. There were a couple of other moments of hilarity — someone held up a shoe and got the crowd to chant, “Someone lost their shoe!” Excitement aside, there were many die-hard fans wearing tour tees from Rosenstock’s previous albums. They crammed together to experience his intense instrumentals and existential angst live.

Toward the end of the show, Rosenstock took a break from his upbeat hits and gave the audience some room to breathe with “HEALMODE.” He wrote the song out of anxiety for the changing climate, especially in his new home in California and its frequent wildfires.

The venue was visibly hazy, now with a stillness as the crowd swayed along to the somber song. It matched the vibe of the stage, which had a huge “666” sign surrounded by marijuana leaves and a rainbow flag that covered half of the back wall.

“I moved across the country to California recently, and people boo when I say that every now and then, but you shouldn’t give a shit about where I move,” Rosenstock said. “I’m the only one that gets to boo! Anyway, this is a song that I wrote when I moved.”

The set list began coming down from its climax as Rosenstock sang, “When it’s time to go to bed, I know I don’t have to feel alone,” from “ILLEGAL FIREWORKS AND HIDING BOTTLES IN THE SAND.” The slower vibe gave a perfect sendoff into the night as he stripped away the loud guitars and heavy beats. Rosenstock sang about finding love and letting go of youth’s consuming emotions. This reminder, that caring for one another, as he said earlier in the night, is what gives way for fun and exhilaration.

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About the Contributor
Eigen Escario
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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