Setting the tone and taking the stage to Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough," The Shadowboxers looked as sharp as they sounded last night at Nashville's 3rd & Lindsley. Kicking off the evening with the soulful harmonies and smooth grooves of "Let You Get the Best of Me," the Atlanta quintet set a brisk pace early and kept to it, running one song smoothly into the next. From the funky breaks of "Sidewalk" to the bopping beat of "You Are All I Need," these guys have an infectious energy and palpable passion for the music they are making.
The three frontmen -- Scott Schwartz on vocals, rhythm guitar; Matt Lipkins on vocals, keyboards, percussion; and Adam Hoffman on vocals, lead guitar -- were ably supported by Carlos Enamorado on bass and Cole McSween on drums as they swapped and shared vocal duties. By the time "Burning the Night" came around, Schwartz was busting out his best Justin Timberlake impersonation, dance moves and all. But, then, the boys' cover of "She's Always in My Hair" made everything just a little edgier, a little harder, a little pluckier.
Turns out, that was all just a warm up for "Is It Any Wonder" which found Enamorado working very hard and proved that none of these guys phone anything in. The thoughtfulness and preparation that goes into making a Shadowboxers show was on full display with this tune, especially in the coordinated choreography that would have made Morris Day proud.
After a more blatant tip of the JT hat -- a cover of his "Pusher Love Girl" -- The Shadowboxers switched to acoustic guitars to offer up a rendition of what is set to be the sign-off of their covers video series next Tuesday -- Crosby, Stills, & Nash's "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes." Both performances leaned heavy on some of the tightest three-part harmonies you'll hear east of the Mississippi.
For their penultimate number, the band laid down the '80s-style groove and rapid-fire phrasing of "Runaway" before closing the night with "You Know Where I'm Staying" -- two new songs that forecast more good things to come from Shadowboxer land. Though the guys joked that most of the audience was Schwartz's hometown family, they expressed deep appreciation for the non-kin in the room. And the crowd echoed it right back at them.