The lineup at The Loft on Saturday night was designed to exceed expectations.
Between Tristen Gaspadarek — the up-and-coming songwriter from Nashville — and headliner Chadwick Stokes — who goes by Chad Urmston when he’s fronting Dispatch — the night was pretty much guaranteed to please.
However, as attendees filtered in, it was obvious that many were there for Stokes and had not heard of Tristen. Not to worry: after a couple songs of Tristen’s set, audience members were applauding and cheering loudly. By the end, they were begging for an encore.
Tristen’s four-piece professional band sounded great, but most notably, she sounded great. It was a pleasure to hear her reach for (and hit) high notes, and growl and play with her voice during her set. Tristen has some serious pipes, and her vocal abilities aren’t always apparent on her records. With a set that included songs from her last two LPs — Charlatans at the Garden Gate and C A V E S — the songwriter undoubtedly left people with one of two thoughts: “How have I never heard of her before?” or “Damn, I forgot she was this good.”
Tristen has been around for a few years, having first broken through to a national audience with 2011’s Charlatans — but there’s still very much a sense that she’s going somewhere. Between these live shows and her next album, Tristen’s fan base will keep growing.