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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.

The perfect introduction to pop-rock: Our Generation ‘z’ artist, GAYLE

GAYLE’s eventful last night on the “Scared but Trying” tour had skits, dancing and an unexpected engagement.
Linda Xu
GAYLE plays guitar live, as photographed on Nov. 15, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Linda Xu)

Being my first time attending a pop rock concert, I entered The Basement East with no preconceived notions and was utterly unprepared for the electrifying, indelible performances that GAYLE and opener Dylan would deliver. The realization that GAYLE was the same age as me added to this shock. As a 19-year-old artist, she performed as the opening act on tour for Taylor Swift and P!NK and embarked on her first headlining tour — “Scared but Trying” this fall, which ended in Nashville at The Basement East on Nov. 15. By the end of the night, she had given me the perfect introduction to pop-rock. 

The performances started with the dimming of the lights and a subtle thumping in the overhead speakers. I could feel this steady beat echoing throughout my body as it gradually got louder, increasing my anticipation for the night. One by one, opener Dylan and her bandmates appeared on stage and began performing “Someone Else.” Almost instantly, I fell in love with the song and her performance. Her energy was contagious as she jumped around the stage playing the guitar, exuding charisma with her explosive dancing. 

The catchy rhythm of “Girl Of Your Dreams” made the audience move with the beat, and I couldn’t help but feel immersed in this new world of energetic musicality as she followed up with songs like “Liar Liar” and “Nothing Lasts Forever” that made me want to just let loose and dance. 

When it was time for GAYLE, I couldn’t wait to see what else was in store for the night. With the lights completely off, a recording of GAYLE’s voice imitating criticism of her songs played on the speakers and her band appeared on stage. She kicked off her performance with “indieedgycool,” and the atmosphere livened up as people screamed and sounds of drums and guitar filled the air. She introduced her bandmates as Andrew on the drums and Max on the guitar and noted that it was the first time on tour that they had been granted microphones. This newfound discovery led to impromptu skits in between songs from the pair. 

Before performing “z,” she made fun of stereotypes about Generation Z surrounding our joking nature and inability to take matters seriously. Through her lyrics, she turned those stereotypes into a more truthful reality by shedding light on the genuine challenges teenagers face. 

Switching up the mood, in one of her skits, she recalled a conversation with Andrew about card games with odd names like “Go Fish.” Somehow, she then transitioned into her cover of “London Bridge” by Fergie by incorporating the lyrics into her skit. 

Moments later, the emotional depth of “i don’t sleep as good as i used to” was palpable as Gayle expressed her frustration and fear of the cruel reality of the world through both her lyrics and dance. The dynamism continued as she transitioned into a rendition of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. 

GAYLE then delved into the inspiration behind her song “god has a sense of humor” and her unique perspective on faith and religion. She surprisingly followed this conversation with a cover of “Wiggle” by Jason Derulo and interacted with the audience to ask if they had dated anyone named Alex. Funnily enough, a few hands, including those of the band, went up, and she seamlessly transitioned into singing “ALEX.” 

The night took another unexpected heartfelt turn when GAYLE brought attention to two women near the front of the stage, exclaiming that one of them was trying to propose to the other. In the chaos of the concert, GAYLE gave them time by momentarily pausing the concert to share a beautiful, intimate moment, facilitating the surprise proposal. Still surprised from the intimate moment, she performed the next song, “luv starved,” on the keyboard, pouring out her emotions into the crowd as they joined in. 

Near the end of the night, GAYLE explained her wall of miscellaneous things at her house and brought out a denim jacket for a little girl in the audience to sign and for GAYLE to put up on her wall. Someone else from the audience caught her attention and gave her a pair of red heart-shaped glasses, and while wearing the glasses, she performed her viral hit “abcdefu,” exploding in energy and presence. People in the crowd jumped and headbanged with her. Ending on a high note, the band bowed to the applause. 

From start to finish, the night highlighted the unexpected charms of Dylan, GAYLE and the world of pop rock. GAYLE shared intimate moments while seamlessly blending humor, turning her concert into a dynamic experience. Vanderbilt students definitely should follow up with artists like GAYLE even after seeing them at on-campus events like Rites of Spring, having the unique perspective of seeing them perform in a different light.

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About the Contributors
Chloe Kim
Chloe Kim, Staff Writer and Photographer
Chloe Kim (‘26) is majoring in Psychology with a minor in computer science and Spanish in the College of Arts and Science. She is on the club tennis team and likes to write poetry and short stories in her free time. In addition to writing, Chloe loves to draw and take photographs for The Hustler! She can be reached at [email protected].
Linda Xu
Linda Xu, Staff Photographer
Linda Xu (‘26) is from Omaha, Neb., and is majoring in cognitive studies and minoring in Spanish for the professions and neuroscience in Peabody College. When not taking pictures for The Hustler, she enjoys arts and crafts and dancing. You can reach her at [email protected].
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