here’s something special about a homecoming show. Familiar faces in the crowd and having everyone who supported you from the very beginning all gathered together in one room brings a special kind of energy to any concert. Combine that with the entrance into both a new year and a new decade and the show has the potential to be legendary. The Brummies knew that. On December 31, 2019, Saturn, the infamous intergalactic music venue in Birmingham, Alabama, was packed for this special New Years event. Teenagers with X’s on their hands in sparkly dresses and crowns stood shoulder-to-shoulder with older couples. Die-hard Brummies fans wearing their merch anxiously waited up front with people who had never heard the band before in their lives. The stage was decked out with multi-colored lights, tropical plants, sparkly tassel and giant silver balloons that spelled out 2020. Everyone was smiling, talking to those around them and overall excited for the night that was about to unfold.

Dan Sartain, the first opening act, was reminiscent of old-school 1950s rock and roll. He wore a clean-cut suit and tie but his vocals and guitar playing were rough and unfiltered. He growled his way through his set and evoked a rawness that was both playful and powerful. 

The second opener, Madi Diaz, entertained the audience with her dark sense of humor and soothing vocals. For lack of a better comparison, she sounded very similar to Phoebe Bridgers (which trust me, that’s a compliment). She played a handful of songs including a cover of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” which was arguably better than the original. Two of “the Brummie boys”, as she affectionately called them, came out to do a song with her as well. She’ll be back at Saturn in April opening for Angel Olsen so if you missed her this time around, you have a second chance to witness her live and I highly recommend that you do. 

Shortly after Madi’s set, The Brummies began setting up. A band originally from Birmingham who have since relocated to Nashville, The Brummies name comes from the slang term for someone from Birmingham, England. They started playing together in high school and haven’t slowed down ever since. Their first studio album, Eternal Reach, was released in 2018 and the release of their second album has been teased for sometime in the new year. They played a handful of new material which was well received from the audience as well as classic crowd favorites such as “Songbird” and “Haunted.” 

Their songs are fun, upbeat and positive. Soon enough, everyone was dancing along to their catchy hooks and choruses. At one point, right before they played “Lovers Do” a very special moment happened. Jacob Bryant, vocalist and guitar player, urged everyone in the audience to be quiet because there was going to be a special announcement. To everyone's surprise and excitement, a guy suddenly fell to his knee and proposed to his girlfriend. Moments like this are what really captures the spirit and power of live music.

The time everyone was waiting for was quickly approaching. In the minutes leading up to the final New Years countdown, some interesting characters were ushered onto the stage. People dressed up in all sorts of mascot costumes, including but not limited to a lobster with a cats head, began jumping around, throwing inflatable balls into the audience and getting people excited. As the final three seconds counted down and the clock struck midnight, the crowd erupted in a chorus of “Happy New Year!” followed by an explosion of confetti and water aimed from the stage. It was emotional and cathartic to be in a room full of music fans for final moments of 2019 and the opening seconds of 2020. Music has the power to bring people of all backgrounds together.. 2019 was an incredible year for music and from the energy that was showcased at a tiny club in Birmingham alone, 2020 is shaping up to be the best year yet. 

Photos by
Erin Dickson