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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.

Chappell Roan brings her ‘Pink Pony Club’ to Brooklyn Bowl

Nashville welcomes Chappell Roan to perform a sold-out show of hits from her debut album.
Chappell+Roan+sings+passionately%2C+as+photographed+on+Oct.+7%2C+2023.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FChloe+Postlewaite%29
Chloe Postlewaite
Chappell Roan sings passionately, as photographed on Oct. 7, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Chloe Postlewaite)

“Everything good happens after midnight” according to Chappell Roan’s hit “After Midnight,” but she proved herself wrong with her high-energy, out-of-this-world show on the night of Oct. 7. 

From the moment I walked into Brooklyn Bowl for Chappell Roan’s concert, I felt like I was in another world. Perhaps I was, considering the theme for Roan’s Nashville concert was space, taking inspiration from her song “Super Graphic Ultra Modern Girl.” The crowd, with their space buns, alien antennae and galactic glitter, did not disappoint. 

An up-and-coming pop artist, Roan has made an appearance in Nashville before; earlier this year in February she performed at The Basement East on her “Naked in North America” tour. This most recent performance at Brooklyn Bowl is part of her “The Midwest Princess” tour following the release of her debut full-length album, “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess.” As a Midwest Princess myself, I had been looking forward to the album’s release and the opportunity to see Roan live at her show. It’s fair to say that my expectations, while already high, were exceeded.

“If you know her, you know she loves some drag queens,” remarked queen Miss Alexia Noelle Paris about Roan. 

Just like at her show earlier this year, several local drag queens opened for Roan. Paris emceed the drag performances, which included local queens Arsyn and Cordelia Facade, before performing her own number. Needless to say, it was one of the most invigorating opening acts I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing, but it’s no surprise coming from Roan, who is very open about advocating for the local queer communities. 

I could feel the crowd’s anticipation building as we waited for Roan to take the stage. She made it well worth it by opening with her album’s first track, “Femininomenon,” which succeeded in getting the crowd jumping, dancing and cheering while the room flooded with pink light. Roan kept the momentum going by diving straight into “Red Wine Supernova” and “After Midnight.”

After such an electrifying opening, Roan changed the tone and slowed things down with “Picture You,” which she followed with “Casual” to get the energy back up. “Casual,” the pinnacle of situationship anthems, is my personal favorite from the album, so I was excited when I heard the band play its opening notes.

Roan made sure to show some love to the space-themed outfits during “Super Graphic Ultra Modern Girl” in which she proved herself as a highly skilled performer by giving us a jaw-dropping belt while still dancing and strutting the stage. Speaking of dancing, the whole crowd got to learn the dance to Roan’s “HOT TO GO!” so we could all join in during the number.

Before performing her self-proclaimed personal favorite off of the album, “Guilty Pleasure,” Roan took a moment to speak about “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess” as a whole. She acknowledged that the album had been a long time coming and exclaimed how happy she was with it.

“I’m very proud of this album and all the years it took,” Roan told the crowd.

Following “Guilty Pleasure,” Roan introduced a new level of intimacy to her show with an emotional, acoustic set. Roan first played “Coffee,” a slow and highly emotional track, before heading to the keyboard to play the beauty that is “Kaleidoscope.” 

She also gave the crowd an insight into her reasons for putting out her album: to resonate with the queer community as a whole, especially those who live in areas such as the Midwest or South where peace with being yourself is hard to come by. It was a touching moment that resonated a lot with me.

Chappell Roan strikes a pose while performing, as photographed on Oct. 7, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Chloe Postlewaite) (Chloe Postlewaite)

Roan didn’t stick only to “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess” for her setlist. She paid homage to the darker sound she stuck to for her earlier music with “School Nights,” which she wrote at 17. Then, she gave us a stunning cover of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” and if there’s anyone who can do that song justice other than Mother Monster herself, it’s Chappell Roan. 

“Ready to get naked in Nashville?” Roan asked the crowd, who cheered in response as she dove into her hit song “Naked in Manhattan.” 

She then rocked the stage with “My Kink is Karma,” inviting the crowd to let out any and all pent-up rage as we sang and danced with her. Her show concluded with an emotional performance of “California” followed by the perfect party bop that is “Pink Pony Club” to leave us all with a concert-goer’s high. The lyric “Tennessee, you’re always on my mind” elicited several cheers from the crowd. 

Roan’s concert left me with a feeling of freedom and fun. Her music inspires listeners to be themselves, do what they love and live in the present, which are all mantras that students at Vanderbilt should take in stride. Brooklyn Bowl is now one of my favorite venues, and I have to give Roan’s show the credit for giving me such a great night in that space. I was a fan before, but it’s fair to say that my love for Chappell Roan and her music is far beyond “Casual” now.

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About the Contributors
Chloe Whalen
Chloe Whalen, Staff Writer
Chloe Whalen (‘27) is from Herscher, Ill., and is studying communication of science and technology in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Deputy Life Editor. In her spare time, she enjoys running, listening to multiple genres of music and podcasts and doing jigsaw puzzles. She can be reached at [email protected].
Chloe Postlewaite
Chloe Postlewaite, Staff Photographer
Chloe Postlewaite ('24) is a student in the College of Arts and Science studying communication of science and technology and cognitive studies. She loves to drink coffee and create niche Spotify playlists. You can reach her at [email protected].  

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