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In 1985 Andy Bell and Vince Clark burst into the forefront of electronic music and made history by forming the band Erasure, after Clark ’s departure from another legendary musical tour de force Depeche Mode.
On May 6, these legendary performers will once more make history following the release of their new album “Union Street,” which brings soulful new depths and acoustic and country-western textures to 11 songs spanning their entire career, the pair will head to Nashville to begin their first-ever acoustic U.S. tour at the legendary Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry.
“ Union Street ” proves there has always been much more to Vince and Andy than shiny pop thrills. Unplugged, both musically and emotionally, they have never before sounded so graceful or so heartfelt. This is an album full of pleasant surprises, but coming from Erasure that is no surprise at all.
Recently, O&AN had the chance to interview gay icon Andy Bell over the phone about the band’s upcoming appearance at the Ryman and how “Union Street” came to be.
Why did you decide to kick off your tour for the first time in Nashville ?
We thought it would be a great way to start this tour out because I have always wanted to play there and I have never been in all the years that we have been performing.
It has been almost a year since your last tour ended. What are you doing to gear yourselves up for this tour?
We are really working on promoting " Union Street " mainly right now. Before the last tour I had a double hip replacement and had to take lots of physical therapy and really hit the gym to get back in shape before going out on tour. It was a very physical tour so I haven't done anything since. We did sixty shows last year so we're taking it easy this time around. There are only ten dates in the US , eight in the UK and three in Europe . We start rehearsals for the tour at the beginning of April. I'm here and the band is there in Nashville where we will meet them and then just go out from there.
Do you miss touring much since you have been inactive for such a long time?
Not really, no. Whenever we get to do something new like this it's really nice. It will be great fun to meet all of the musicians who will be touring with us since this is a sort of first for us. It's usually just Vince and myself on the road and this time out we will have a full band backing us for the first time ever. I'm getting really excited about this tour and can't wait to get out on the road but I really don't miss the previous tour because it's good to be home and back to my own life.
Erasure has always been known as an electronic band. Why did you feel drawn to reinterpreting your old works in an acoustic album?
I've always wanted to do a Country & Western album because I was brought up on it largely as a kid. Country music is quite huge in England . In Peterborough where I am from we have a huge Country & Western music festival every year and my parents were huge fans of Johnny Cash, Charley Pride and Slim Whitman. We were promoting other people's work in America recently at acoustic geared radio stations where we met up with Steve Walsh who is the producer of " Union Street " and it went so well that we decided to do a few acoustic shows that were about forty or so minutes long in New York . The vibe there was so good that we thought rather than doing another album of covers we would use our own songs and treat them in an acoustic country way. I really think that the musicians we used on the album were brilliant and it made my voice sound very nice.
Was there any trepidation when recording " Union Street " that some of the more hardcore fans of your electronic work might be turned off by this extreme departure from your previous work?
Well, I don't think so because Vince is a sort of electro god in his own right at the moment so I feel like it is admirable of him to kind of take a step back and allow some of his songs to be re-imagined in a different light. Our fans pretty much genuinely like everything we do. We've done quite a few sorts of indie sounding albums before with lots of guitar but this is a totally different thing from even that. I think it will allow the fans to enjoy our sound in a more intimate way. For the next record we will return to doing electronic music, so this isn't a permanent change by any means.
How did you feel about the songs as you watched them change into their acoustic versions before your eyes?
It was really quite amazing I think to see these songs re-imagined in such a way. I was quite surprised at them because the songs all seem to grow with you over time and when we did them this time it was almost as if another person were singing them entirely.
You and Vince have been performing together since 1985. What is it like for you to continue collaborating with someone over such a long period of time?
It's really quite lovely. We always have such a great fun time together. I think I might have blown it ages ago had it not been for our partnership. If Vince weren't there I might have made many more mistakes than I have thus far. He's really kind of low-key and down-to-earth. We both love songwriting so we just get on with it.
After the tour promoting " Union Street " is done what is next on your plate to tackle?
At the end of the tour there is a festival in the U.S. called "True Colors" which we will potentially be joining with Cyndi Lauper, the Scissor Sisters and the B-52's. I will also have another single released from the solo album I released last year and then we'll start working on the next album but not before we relax a bit. *chuckles*
Tickets to the Ryman show are available through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com or through the Ryman box office at www.ryman.com or by calling 615.889.3060.
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.