“I gotta level with you. I’ve just been diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection. They told me not to play this show. And I said f**** that.”

Adrian Galvin (Yoke Lore) sang through his sickness on Monday, November 4th at his nearly sold-out show in Nashville, TN. Vibrant, Brooklyn-based Future Generations helped energize an audience suffering from post-Daylight Savings blues and set the scene for Adrian’s expressive and passionate performance.

It was great to see that he’s still a 2-person band from the time I saw him open for Overcoats in 2017. Even though there’s only two of them they make it full and lively. The stage basked in a uniformly blue hue as we waited for Yoke Lore, slow jamming to alt. pop tunes. The show began with Garren Orr, the other half of Yoke Lore, playing a somber tune on synth keys. Adrian came out in his signature hoodie, strapped up his acoustic, and kicked off the show with a 2016 release “Hold Me Down.” Garren switched to hard-hitting drum fills and Adrian graced us with his vocals that intentionally switch from being the forefront to taking a backseat. The opening song transitioned to half-time and the crowd responded to the dynamic shift’s energy.

He switched to banjo for one of the singles he released this year: “Chin Up.” “This is about forgiveness and not just as a concept. Holding onto shit gets you nowhere” he reminded us.

His “Truly Madly Deeply” cover was the most stripped-down song of the set. In the middle of the song, he conducted the crowd as they sang the Savage Garden tune a cappella.

He then sang “Only You” from Goodpain, which he says gets mistaken often for a love song. After explaining what the song is really meant to express, it seems to be a love song to oneself:

“Only you can make it better. It’s all on you. If you get yourself in a bad situation you can get yourself out” There was an awkward pause of the crowd that he remedied with: “That’s good guys! We’re awesome y’all!” The crowd laughed and cheered. This song was a standout.

The highlight of the set, however, was the performance of “Fake You.”

“There’s this terribly psychic pattern of mine. I do this thing that I’m trying not to do (thanks in advance for being my therapist tonight) where I’m kind of judgmental and want people to be a certain way and feel let down when they’re not. You know how you dress for the job you want? I write songs for the guy I want to be. We grow and develop by being around each other’s eccentricities.”

The crowd really responded to his self-awareness and honesty. Adrian and Garen switched instruments mid-song (Adrian went to the drums, Garen to the banjo), and once people realized what was happening, they went crazy. It was such a cool twist and really showed their versatility and prowess. “Fake You,” aside from the finale, garnered the longest applause.

He then played “Goodpain,” my personal favorite, and he ditched all instruments to dance.

“I think about words a lot and how we talk to each other. Words are magic spells. We’re either cast in blessings or hexes. And if you know that, it behooves you to use really good words to bless each other. There’s a lot of unimaginative rhetoric in the world right now. It’s on you to be specific with what you mean when you tell someone you love them. Tell them how they make the back of your neck feel. What color they are to you. This song is called ‘Beige.’”

He played his most-streamed “Beige” to close. I loved that he really took the time to explain what all the songs mean to him and what they could possibly mean to us. He did it in a way that didn’t feel preachy, just empathetic and through-provoking. His setlist was fairly short, but it gave his songs and sentiments time to breathe.

Adrian and Garen hugged it out at the end which was tender for obvious reasons, but especially due to the fact Adrian’s a head shorter. I know it seems like a simple gesture, but it really expressed their humility, work ethic and passion to their audience.

Yoke Lore has one more US date (Atlanta) before he heads off to Europe.

Catch a show here: https://www.yokelore.com/#music

Yoke Lore. Photo by Jacob Wandel. Courtesy of the artist. Used with permission.
Yoke Lore. Photo by Jacob Wandel. Courtesy of the artist. Used with permission.