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: Towa Bird and her revolutionary guitars rocked the Ryman

Coming all the way from the United Kingdom, Towa Bird shook the ground of Music City with her earth-shattering guitar riffs.
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Barrie Barto
Towa Bird jams on the Ryman’s stage, as photographed Oct. 23, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto)

Back in the city of Nashville where she recorded her most recent single “DRAIN ME!,” Towa Bird blessed us with her presence on Oct. 16. Towa Bird came all the way from the United Kingdom to open for the one and only Reneé Rapp in her “Snow Hard Feelings” tour. Before the show,  I hadn’t yet heard of Towa Bird, but after her 18th set on Rapp’s tour, she earned herself a new superfan. 

Something I couldn’t stop looking at was Bird’s voluminous hair and the way it was always bouncing. She was definitely in touch with her masculine side, sporting a white wife-beater, black dress pants, a black tie and Doc Martens.  I felt seen by her from the first words she exclaimed to the crowd.

“How are we doing bisexuals?” Bird said.

I was drawn into Bird’s indie rock anthems laced with teenage angst and dripping in feminine rage — and the occasional guitar solo. Bird and her guitar come as a package deal as all of her songs included crucial guitar lines. I was astonished by her range, switching between guitars with almost every song, totaling three different guitars throughout the night. If I knew someone who could play guitar like her, I’d tell them to never stop playing. 

Throughout the night, Bird’s confidence was palpable and contagious. After addressing all the bisexuals in the crowd, she immediately told everyone to stand up, asking “What’s up mommies?” She grabbed the attention of the packed house, not that anyone could ignore her stage presence or bass reverberating throughout the whole venue. I feel like in most instances, the volume for the opener is always much quieter than the main performer. In this case, the volume for everyone on stage was cranked all the way up.  

The bond between Bird and her band was special — their high energy on stage was inspiring. With every strum of the guitar and every beat of the drum, their heads aggressively bopped to the rhythm. By the end of their set, I was surprised the drummer hadn’t experienced whiplash! 

Every time Bird took a break from singing to talk, the drummer would keep playing, almost like a bit. During their fourth song of the night, Bird asked us all to pull out our phone flashlights. During this time, Bird sang alone as her drummer and guitarist did a cute short handshake in the dark. 

After singing a slower-paced song, Bird immediately switched back to the high-energy vibe. They asked us all to put up a peace sign, and then turn it around. She revealed to us that in the United Kingdom, that hand signal meant “f*** off.” Her next song was about saying that to anyone who has ever wronged you and to every injustice in the system. Following this song, Bird closed with an unreleased song. “DRAIN ME!” was initially recorded in Nashville last year, so she expressed her excitement at being able to sing this song in the same place it was produced. I was left speechless after Bird and her band departed the stage after their final notes, performed with the lights strobing.

Towa Bird has a true talent for music, and I am excited to see her career flourish. She really does a great job at turning her loud emotions into equally loud music and opening for Reneé Rapp is just one of the first steps in her career. Bird’s music is perfect to listen to while jumping around in your room and a great way to cope with the wide range of emotions that teenage years, college and change bring about.

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About the Contributors
Kailey Aldrich, Staff Writer
Kailey Aldrich (‘27) is from Olmsted Township, Ohio, and studies biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering. She is a Life staff writer interested in anything and everything, but she loves creative writing. She is great at relaxing and having fun with her friends instead of studying. You can reach her at [email protected].
Barrie Barto, Senior Staff Photographer
Barrie Barto ('25) is majoring in medicine, health & society with minors in communication of science & technology and neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Photography Director. Outside of The Hustler, you can find Barrie cheering on the St. Louis Blues or tracking down the best gluten-free food in Nashville. She can be reached at [email protected].
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