American Aquarium’s current Things Change Tour leans heavily on the songs that make up their latest album, Things Change, released last week. The defiant “The World Is on Fire,” the resilient “Tough Folks” and the ferocious “Crooked + Straight” were all highlights when BJ Barham and his reconstituted band performed at the Basement East in Nashville on Tuesday night. But Barham also made time to pay homage to one of his influences with a blazing cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town.”
The title track to Springsteen’s 1978 album – released before Barham, 34, was born in 1984 – worked nicely as a capper to American Aquarium’s nearly two-hour set, serving as a collaborative encore with show opener Cory Branan. (Watch a performance of “Darkness” from the tour’s stop in Indianapolis last week.)
Things Change is the follow-up to American Aquarium’s 2015 effort Wolves and marks the first studio album with the new lineup.” I found a band that wanted to tour every night, and everyone who’s seen us live says it’s the best version of American Aquarium yet,” Barham recently told Rolling Stone in an interview that highlighted the political nature of Things Change. “The only reason people have problems with an artist being political is when the artist is outspoken about views that don’t fully align with theirs. I guarantee some of my friends and fans on the right would have fully agreed with these songs the morning after the 2008 election. Even if they can’t get behind my message, hopefully they can get behind one of their favorite artists being open and honest about the things that matter the most to him.”
American Aquarium will perform Wednesday night in Columbus, Ohio, before heading east for shows in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York City.