There’s a rising trend in the music industry: the new, undiscovered band that suddenly explodes into the public eye, seemingly out of nowhere. The Lumineers did it, the Alabama Shakes did it, and now Atlas Genius, an indie-rock band based out of Adelaide, Australia, has earned a coveted spot on this list of overnight sensations. Atlas Genius, made up of brothers Keith and Michael Jeffery, released its first full-length album When It Was Now on February 19, and the band embarked on its first North American headlining tour in April after a gig as the opening act for the Imagine Dragons’ Night Visions tour.
Atlas Genius brought their up-beat liveliness and captivating melodies to Nashville last night, performing in front of a sold-out crowd at 3rd and Lindsley. Before the band even took the stage, the night was already off to a great start with a half-hour set by Southern California-based Pacific Air. This group of skinny-jean-and-tattoo-clad musicians looked exactly like any other indie band you’d see playing at a bar, but they turned out to be one of the night’s best surprises. The band performed material from both their LONG LIVE KOKO EP and their upcoming debut album Stop Talking, out June 11. They ended their set with their popular single “Float,” an infectious, breezy tune that personifies the mellow-ness of summer.
Adding to the element surprise, Atlas Genius actually began their show promptly at 9 p.m., rather than “musician-time” 9 p.m., which is usually more like 9:20. Live performances distinguish the average bands from the truly exceptional bands, and from the first note, it was clear that Atlas Genius would pass this test. The band vivaciously blasted through an hour-long set of songs from When It Was Now, including crowd-favorites “Trojans” and “If So.” One of the night’s stand-out moments was a stripped-down performance of “All These Girls” with just Keith and his acoustic guitar, spotlighting Keith’s singing voice and adding a tone of genuine beauty to an otherwise up-beat indie-pop song.
Despite one minor setback – Keith broke a guitar string at the beginning of “If So” – the show flowed smoothly and undoubtedly left the audience wondering where that precious hour had gone.